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SIUE Erases Fifth-Set Deficit For Victory

SPARTANBURG, S.C. - SIUE erased a six-point deficit in the final set and came back to defeat Wofford in the opening day of the Wofford Volleyball Invitational.

The Cougars improved to 4-5 overall with a 21-25, 25-14, 25-20, 19-25, 15-13 victory over the host school. SIUE faces off against Stetson and USC Upstate to close out the tournament Saturday.

SIUE Coach Todd Gober said the fifth set comeback was impressive. The Cougars were down 9-3 in the fifth set and used a serving run by freshman Kelsey Augustine to push past Wofford, 7-7.

"We were down by six and then Kelsey came in to serve. By the time she was done, we were ahead," said Gober. "We showed character as a team in that set."

And match point was SIUE senior Sydney Winslow finishing strong.

"She gets a great kill to win the match. It's great for Syd, being a senior, to get the match-winning kill," said Gober.

Julia Whitfield led the Cougars with 14 kills, two service aces and a solo block. Whitfield and the Cougars collected a season-high 60 kills.

Gober said Augustine, who did not start the match, provided a spark for the team. She finished with eight kills and two assists. Augustine served through a 10-point run in the second set that put that set out of reach early. "She gave us a big lift today," noted Gober.

After SIUE took a 2-1 lead in sets, Wofford forced a fifth set behind the efforts of Stacy Byrd. She tied for the game high in kills with 14.

Gober said once the team decided to work hard, get focused and play less conservative, it all started to click. "And then good things started happening," he said.

"I think it lets us know that when we bear down we are a good team," Gober said.

SIUE's defense also collected a season-best 70 digs, including 20 from Karie Downing, 13 from Sammi Minton and 11 from Whitfield.

Gober said cutting down on unforced errors should give the Cougars a lift in the future. For now, the Cougars are focusing on trying to get to the .500 mark.

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