Cougars Split Saturday Tournament Matches
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - SIUE volleyball split its two matches Saturday at the Drury Inn/ASICS Volleyball Challenge, defeating Savannah State and falling to Western Illinois.
The Cougars, 3-4, easily downed Savannah State 25-11, 25-20, 25-10 and dropped a four-set decision to Western Illinois 23-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-16 at Indiana State University Arena.
SIUE Head Coach Leah Johnson was upbeat after the day's matches. She retooled the offense after week one and saw some encouraging signs today. The Cougars ran an offense with setters Sammi Minton and Chelsi Hummert.
"We started the (Western Illinois) match strong and was in control of the first half of the second set," said Johnson. "It gave us more options and versatility in all six rotations."
The Cougars hit .375 as a team against Savannah State. Jessica Hemann led SIUE with the most efficient match of her collegiate career. The senior recorded 10 kills and no attack errors on 14 attack attempts for a .714 hitting percentage.
Fellow middle hitter Kelsey Augustine also was flawless from the floor with six kills and no errors on 12 attacks for a .500 hitting percentage.
Johnson said the Cougars made a conscious attempt to utilize the team's middle hitters more. "The middle's efforts were very consistent and effective."
SIUE's serving was aggressive with nine service aces. The Cougar defense held Savannah State to a .076 hitting percentage with 18 kills overall.
Earlier in the day, Western Illinois, 4-2, avenged its first loss of the season against SIUE. The Cougars got off to a strong start by winning the first set but were unable to continue that pace.
Megan Toczek and Cait Egan led the Leathernecks with 11 and 10 kills, respectively. SIUE's Julia Whitfield and Augustine matched that with 11 and 10 kills.
SIUE struggled with consistency in the match and finished with a .096 hitting percentage. The Cougars had 34 attack errors to go with its 49 kills.
Chelsea Colclasure anchored the defense for the Cougars with 27 digs.