Sept. 11, 2009
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - The offense came alive Friday night but not enough to give Southern Illinois University Edwardsville volleyball a victory.
SIUE dropped its opening match at the Chattanooga Tournament with a four-set loss to Loyola 23-25, 25-23, 25-16, 27-25.
The Cougars, 0-9, recorded a season-high 60 kills for the match. Four different players recorded double digits in kills led by 13 each from Jessica Hemann, Sydney Winslow and Karie Downing. Brittni Birkey added 11 kills for the Cougars.
SIUE coach Todd Gober was clearly upbeat after the match.
"This is the best we've competed and played all year," said Gober. "We can still improve so much. There's a lot we can do better."
The Cougars made a comeback in the first set, finishing off Loyola with back-to-back kills from Downing and Hemann.
Loyola, now 4-5, came back wins in with three straight sets, closing out the final set with kills from Diane Schulte and Colleen Francis.
The boxscore didn't necessarily explain the difference in the match with SIUE winning the kills battle 60-55 and the digs battle 71-60. SIUE was called for nine net violations in the match. Loyola held the edge in efficiency, hitting .287 to SIUE's .199.
Gober said his team switched to a one-setter offense. He said the move appeared to make a big difference on both offense and defense.
"I think it really helped our hitters," he said. Gober said the team's tempo and consistency made marked improvement.
SIUE plays twice Saturday at the Chattanooga Tournament. The Cougars meet host Chattanooga at noon ET and Austin Peay at 3 p.m. ET.