EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE volleyball notched its first Ohio Valley Conference win Wednesday with a three-set sweep of rival Eastern Illinois at First Community Arena at the Vadalabene Center.
The Cougars improved to 6-9 overall and 1-2 in the OVC with their third sweep of the season. Eastern Illinois dropped to 1-14 overall and 0-3 in OVC play.
SIUE won by scores of 25-7, 25-20 and 25-16.
"To do it in three, we feel really proud," SIUE Head Coach Kendall Paulus said. "We had momentum and you do what you can to keep it. For us to keep it for three sets is a huge win for us.
"We were really balanced and we stuck to the system," Paulus continued. "We did a really nice job communicating. They did a really good job of sharing information and being strong at the net."
The Cougars held an 8-5 lead in set one before ripping off 15 consecutive points.
"We were just trying to keep the pressure on them," Paulus said of the run. "We knew if we could get them out of rhythm with their passing then we knew where the ball was going."
Hope Everett and Savannah Christian paced the Cougar offense, which finished with a season-high .290 hitting percentage, with eight kills apiece. Everett hit .467 for the match while Christian hit .353. Dylynn Otte and Kiana Fields each added seven kills. Fields also picked up three blocks.
"So much credit to them," Paulus said of her setters, "But also to their hitters and to them knowing how to use their hitters. Sav (Christian) with Sarah (Armendariz) worked really well and clearly Hope (Everett) with Mal (Nicholson) worked well. All four coming in together worked really well."
Jordyn Klein anchored the Cougars' backline again, amassing a career-high 31 digs while adding eight assists herself.
"Jordyn Klein had a really defensive line against their outsides so that really helped us," Paulus added.
Klein credited the team effort.
"Definitely our blockers; our lineups were really strong tonight and really balanced," she said. "Every single person contributed to that defense back there. That's something we've really been working on."
SIUE returns to the road Saturday to face Tennessee State.