EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE volleyball posted its most efficient hitting match ever in Ohio Valley Conference play Friday with a three-set triumph over Tennessee Tech at the Vadalabene Center.
The Cougars, now 10-16 overall and 6-7 in the OVC, finished with 46 kills, seven errors, and 92 attacks for a staggering .424 hitting percentage. It was the first time SIUE has hit better than .400 as a team since the Cougars defeated Chicago State during the 2010 season.
"Tonight our focus was on taking our team play to the next level and not just beating our opponent," said SIUE Head Coach Leah Johnson, "but raising our level of play so that we are peaking at the end of our season and hopefully into the conference tournament."
"We decided we needed to go back to the mentality where we are playing every game like it's our championship and going hard for every point," said Harris. "I think that really showed on the court."
SIUE and Tennessee Tech had 10 ties in the opening set before the Cougars went on a 12-2 run to close out the set. SIUE libero Chelsea Colclasure served out the last eight points of the set.
Tennessee Tech, now 5-18 overall and 1-12 in OVC play, hit .183 for the match, mostly behind the efforts of Madison Keyes who hit .647 and was in on the Golden Eagles' only block of the night.
The Cougars were a perfect 12 for 12 on side out opportunities in the second set. SIUE became even more efficient on offense in the third set behind a 17-kill effort.
Johnson said she felt the Cougars had a good record in OVC play after spending most of the first half of the season on the road but needing a mental shift after not performing well to start this five-match homestand.
"When we came back home we were disappointed in our mentality," Johnson said. "It wasn't as aggressive being at home. We've been reviewing the mental traits that have made us a contender. I felt like that was demonstrated today and in practice this week."
Johnson said the defense did a great job of getting the ball to setter Mallory Mangun, who finished with 34 assists.
"I thought she had one of her best matches of the season," said Johnson.
SIUE returns to the Vadalabene Center to face Jacksonville Saturday at 2 p.m.
"We need to play the best volleyball we can play and the outcome will speak for itself. We have to keep the focus on our side of the net," said Johnson.