SIUE volleyball captures 10th triumph at UT Martin

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Taylor Joens picked up a team-leading four kills in the final set Saturday as SIUE volleyball downed Southeast Missouri in five sets.

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SIUE improved to 11-4 overall and continues to lead the Ohio Valley Conference with a 4-0 record. The Cougars won the match 18-25, 25-22, 26-24, 16-25, 15-11.

SEMO, 2-16 overall and 1-3 in the OVC, held a 4-0 lead in the fifth set only watch the Cougars come from behind. Joens also had her only service ace of the match in the fifth set.

"By the end of the match because we had been running the offense so well, she (Joens) was really one on one by set five," said SIUE Head Coach Leah Johnson. "She handled that really well."

Blocking also became a major factor for the Cougars with a season-high 16.

Carley Ramich led the charge with a career-high 10 blocks. Ramich is among the OVC leaders in blocks and improved her blocks per set to 1.11 for the season. Emily Harrison and Joens added seven and six blocks, respectively.

"We took some risks in blocking," said Johnson. "Fundamentally and technically our block got better as the match went on."

Johnson said the Cougars had to make some adjustments on the front line, showing Southeast Missouri different looks as the match progressed.

The Redhawks were powered by Krissa Gearring, who led all players with 26 kills. Madeline Grimm added 15 off the bench, and Nzingha Clarke added 12.

"I thought they (SEMO) played really well," said Johnson. "Their record is so deceiving, especially at home. They are a scrappy team and they are terminal."

SEMO collected 70 kills as a team, the most by an SIUE opponent this season.

"We were managing our serve and serve receive game a little better," said Johnson. "That showed up pretty well for us. We distributed the ball well. Everyone had a shared role. When someone stopped scoring, we immediately moved the ball away from them and someone else started scoring. That's the balance that our team benefits from this season."

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SIUE's balanced offense had six players with seven or more kills for the match. Joens led the team with 11 followed by 10 from Jackie Scott.

Cougars Push Past Skyhawks

Jackie Scott
Jackie Scott

MARTIN, Tenn. – SIUE volleyball improved its season record to 10-4 and 3-0 in the Ohio Valley Conference Friday with a 25-18, 23-25, 25-11, 25-16 victory at UT Martin.

It continues to be the best OVC start for the Cougars who have won three straight and nine of their last 10 matches.

Ashley Witt led SIUE hitters with 13 kills, but a balanced attack provided 57 kills overall in the four-set match. The OVC's leading offense in kills per set picked up nine kills each from Jackie Scott and Taylor Held as well as eight each from Taylor Joens and Emily Harrison.

"That's what we want," said SIUE Head Coach Leah Johnson. "We don't want to be predictable and have opponents be able to key on one particular player.

"The person I thought kept us steady tonight was Jackie Scott," said Johnson. "She was the gel tonight."

Scott was one kill away from a double-double after recording 10 digs.

Two SIUE players did finish with a double-double. Setter Mallory Mangun collected 23 assists and 13 digs. Libero Katie Shashack added 11 assists and a team-leading 20 digs.

After splitting the first two sets, the Cougars left little doubt about sets three and four. SIUE had 16 attack errors in the first two sets and just seven in the final two sets.

Between sets two and three, Johnson said she reassured her team that good passing was going to lead to good hitting.

"We talked about playing well in the first two sets, but they (UT Martin) were winning the longer rallies," said Johnson. "We had to be more crisp."

SIUE's hitting percentage improved to .375 in the third set with 14 kills. In set four, SIUE netted 16 kills and hit .314 as a team. For the match, SIUE hit .222 as a team while holding UT Martin to a .113 hitting percentage.

Jemima Idemudia led the Skyhawks with 11 kills. UT Martin dropped to 4-14 overall and 0-3 in the OVC.

SIUE's road trip continues Saturday with a 1:30 p.m. start time at Southeast Missouri.

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