CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – SIUE volleyball fell in the opening match of the Scenic City Showdown as host Chattanooga topped the Cougars 20-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-21 at Maclellan Gymnasium.
SIUE dropped to 5-2 with the loss. The Cougars have two games scheduled for Saturday at the tournament. SIUE faces Georgia State at 9 a.m. CT and Jackson State at 3:30 p.m. CT.
SIUE Acting Head Coach Kendall Paulus found several positives, including a strong serve and 82 digs from the defense. Five players finished in double figures in digs, led by 17 from setter Samantha Knight.
"We absolutely battled," said Paulus. "We had a lot of fight in us."
The Cougars were off to a good start against the Mocs, winning the opening set. Emily Harrison accounted for the final two points of the set on a block at 24-19 and a kills at 25-20.
Chattanooga, 6-3, turned around its fortunes in the second set behind five kills from Dani Szczepanski. She finished the match with 12 overall and led all players with a .458 hitting percentage.
Ally Ford paced the Mocs with a match-high 16 kills. Sarah Root added 10.
"It was evenly matched," said Paulus. "That's why there were so many highs and lows."
The Cougars hit .135 for the match as a team while Chattanooga hit .200.
SIUE led 19-16 in the fourth set, looking to send the match to a fifth frame. However, Chattanooga rallied for six straight points to take a 22-19 lead.
"We were ahead in the fourth set," said Paulus. "They just fed off the crowd. It was a good atmosphere."