EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Five players set new career highs with double-digit kills Saturday as SIUE closed out the Cougar Classic with a five-set thriller over Oral Roberts at the Vadalabene Center.
The Cougars earned their first victory of the season with a 25-19, 22-25, 26-28, 25-19, 15-8 triumph over the Golden Eagles, who dropped to 3-9.
Rachel McDonald, a member of the Cougar Classic All-Tournament team, finished with 16 kills with a team-leading 26 digs. Dylynn Otte topped all players with 19. Hope Everett and Ellen LeMasters each had 12 while Annie Ellis added 11.
SIUE Head Coach Kendall Paulus said her team turned in a good victory.
"I especially want to give a shout out to our bench that really provided the energy we needed tonight," she said.
"On the court, everyone was feeding off each other," said SIUE setter Mallory Nicholson.
Nicholson led the Cougars with 31 assists as the Cougars exploded offensively with a season-high 77 kills in their first five-set match of the season.
SIUE hit .244 as a team and collected 102 digs. The defense also added eight blocks, including five from Ellis and three from Everett.
Earlier in the day, SIUE was defeated by Louisiana Tech 25-22, 25-19, 23-25, 25-20. McDonald led SIUE with 15 kills and 20 digs.
SIUE now gets set for its first Ohio Valley Conference contest, heading to Eastern Illinois Wednesday for a 6 p.m. contests in Charleston, Illinois.
"The OVC is where our focus is so we have more work to do," said Paulus.