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SIUE Wins Wofford Invitational

SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville earned its second tournament triumph of the season Saturday with victories over Stetson and USC Upstate at the Wofford Invitational.

The Cougars, now above .500 at 6-5, defeated Stetson 25-16, 25-18, 25-22 and USC Upstate 25-21, 16-25, 25-22, 25-17.

Sydney Winslow was named the tournament Most Valuable Player after recording 43 kills. The right-side hitter posted a .405 hitting percentage and five blocks in three straight wins for the Cougars. It was the second time this season that Winslow has earned MVP honors.

"Sydney was the go-to player this weekend. When we needed a kill, we went to Sydney. She was a motivated and disciplined captain," said SIUE Head Coach Todd Gober.

SIUE setter Sammi Minton and libero Karie Downing also were named to the All-Tournament team. Minton averaged 11.2 assists per set and finished with a .200 hitting percentage. Downing was a key to SIUE's defense with 3.67 digs per set.

"Sammi has the confidence that our team has needed. She will go toe to toe with the people on the other side of the net," said Gober. "Karie had a tremendous weekend. She was the best libero in the gym. She was handling serve receive well with fire and determination but very focused."

Gober said the Wofford Invitational turned out to be a competitive one for his team. Stetson played at a slower pace than what the Cougars would have liked. SIUE had to adjust to the rhythm and did so with a team hitting percentage of .302 for the match. Winslow led SIUE with 15 kills followed by 12 from freshman outside hitter Julia Whitfield.

USC Upstate provided a fiery match for the Cougars, noted Gober. The Cougars found themselves down 9-3 in the first set to USC Upstate only to come back against the Spartans.

"With USC Upstate, you had to earn your points," said Gober. "We were able to keep playing at a high level the whole match."

The Cougars won the match in four sets behind double-digit kills from Winslow, Whitfield and freshman Lexi Cibulka. SIUE was able to counter a strong match from USC Upstate's Cori Harris, who finished with a match-high 21 kills.

SIUE now has only a few days to prepare for its return to the Vadalabene Center. Chicago State invades the Vadalabene Center Tuesday for a 7 p.m. match.

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