EDWARDSVILLE – The Edwardsville girls volleyball team started its 2018 season with a split in Group B of the Tiger Classic tournament at Lucco-Jackson Gym Friday evening, winning over Columbia 25-19, 25-17, but losing to Oakville of south St. Louis County 25-20, 25-20.

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Group play was scheduled Saturday morning before going into the bracket stage of the tournament.

The Tigers’ first-year coach, Lisa Orlet, was very pleased with how her team performed against Columbia.

“The girls, that’s their first one, so I was real happy with how they played,” Orlet said. “They started out a little nervous, but things came together, and I think they had a lot of fun.”

Things went much smoother in the second game of the Columbia match, and the roster, which contains many younger players and only one senior, Corrine Timmerman, are working hard and getting things ironed out.

“Things in the second game went a lot smoother,” Orlet said. “We’ve got all kinds of new kids on the court, and in a couple of new spots. We’re ironing some things out, but the girls are playing together and having a lot of fun. And they’ve been working really hard in the gym, so I’m glad that it paid off for them tonight.”

And the younger players are determined to make their mark onto the very successful Tiger program, who finished 32-6 and advanced to the Class 4A Super-Sectional match.

“The girls are wanting to make sure that they make an impact in the Edwardsville program,” Orlet said, “and they’ve been really, like I said, working hard to make that happen. They’re relying on each other, they’re really creating a great team culture in the gym. So I’m proud of them.”

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In the first game against Columbia, sophomore middle hitter Storm Suhre lead the way with 10 kills, followed by sophomore Alexa Harris with five. Sophomore setter Morgan Tulacro had 23 assists, while Harris had three blocks and Suhre two. Sophomore Rihanna Huebner lead the way with nine service points, while junior Lexie Curtis and Suhre had six each.

In the second game against the Eagles, the Tigers started out by scoring the first four points of the game and eventually jumped out to a 13-7 lead on the serving of Huebner and Tulacro. The Eagles rallied back to cut the edge to 16-12 on Lindsay Wibbernmeyer’s service, but Edwardsville came back to take a 21-14 lead. The teams then traded points before Timmerman spiked home the match winner.

Timmerman’s leadership as the only senior will be key for the Tigers.

“She’s been amazing,” Orlet said. “She’s been a strong leader, on and off the court. She’s really bringing the girls together, and really helping the underclassmen to feel comfortable, and really just making her role something that we can’t do without, in many, many ways.”

Against Oakville, Suhre had seven kills for Edwardsville, with Timmerman having five and Harris four. Suhre also had three blocks, while Huebner and Tulacro had two each.

Tulacro also had 19 assists while Huebner served for six points against Oakville.

The Tigers have a simple goal for the group stage of the tournament.

“Well, you know, we’d like to obviously try to come out on top in our pool,” Orlet said.

“Just having a lot of fun. It’s fun being a Tiger,” Orlet said with a smile and laugh.

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