EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE volleyball improved to 6-0 at home during Ohio Valley Conference play after defeating Tennessee State Saturday in four sets at the Vadalabene Center.
The Cougars, 8-16 overall and 7-5 in OVC play, downed the Tigers 24-26, 25-20, 25-15, 26-24 and have now won four straight matches. SIUE embarks on its final road trip of the regular season next Friday and Saturday at Southeast Missouri and UT Martin.
"It will be a big weekend, and it will be tough," said SIUE Head Coach Kendall Paulus. "That's why securing these wins at home was huge."
Paulus emphasized that balance was the key for SIUE whether it was passing, defensive play, serve receive or attacking.
Paulus' first shout out after the match was to her team's bench who kept the players on the court loose.
"When they get going and have fun, it not only trickles to the players but to the fans," said Paulus.
SIUE hit .268 as a team with four players hitting better than .300. Hannah Bagley came off the bench for eight kills in 15 attacks for a team-leading .533 hitting percentage.
"Hannah Bagley came in and was awesome," added Paulus.
Tennessee State, led by 17 kills from Rachel Henderson, secured the first set by winning the final three after SIUE had a set point.
SIUE picked up its offensive attack with just two errors in the second set and four kills each from Everett and Bagley.
The Cougars sprinted to the third-set victory with five different players having two or more kills. SIUE's side-out percentage of 87 percent was among its best for the season.
"We had every single person out there, and they were talking," said SIUE setter Sami Knight. "I was feeling the vibe with them."
After cruising in set three, the fourth set became a back-and-forth contest with 14 ties and five lead changes. Tennessee State, now 8-15 overall and 6-6 in the OVC, would avoid a match point at 24-23, but back-to-back kills by Bagley provided the winning margin for the Cougars.