Tough Weekend for Vols at Vincennes Tournament
The purpose in going to Vincennes this past weekend was to challenge the team with a tough early-season tournament. The competition was as difficult as advertised, and even though the Vols played some quality volleyball in stretches, they were unable to post the wins they had hoped for.
The tournament started out with a NJCAA Region 24 matchup with host Vincennes University. The Vols got out to a hot start and rattled off numerous points early in game one on the way to a solid game one 25-17 victory. Unfortunately, the home team responded well to the challenge and came back to win the next 3 games 21-25, 15-25, and 23-25. Coach Burnside said, "the match was really decided by ball control. In the first game, we were passing well and playing good defense. We kept them off-balance running a quick offense. However, in the next 3 games Vincennes picked up their service pressure, and we were unable to get our passes consistently where they needed to be. Once that happened, their size and blocking were able to have an effect on our outside hitters."
The other Friday night match up was against Glen Oaks CC, a school the Vols have never played before. The end result was a 20-25, 25-16, 25-27, 23-25 defeat. "I felt like we were clearly the more talented team in that match up, but we just didn't recover well from the defeat to Vincennes. We stopped playing aggressively and allowed their Libero to dominate the match. She was digging everything. No matter where we hit the ball, she was there digging it," said Coach.
Saturday the team came back with a solid performance against Wabash Valley posting a 25-10, 25-15, 25-20 victory. The team was able to get back into a solid offensive rhythm and to reestablish the defense. Coach says, "it was good to see us recover from a frustrating Friday night. I was wondering how long the difficulties of the night before would linger, but the girls came back pretty strong."
The last match of the tournament came against Wallace State, a perennial national tournament qualifier. Talented in every position, they were a great test for our developing team. Although the Vols had the lead for most of game one and game three, they were unable to hold on to either set. Wallace State went on to win the match 25-27, 18-25, and 21-25. "We definitely showed our potential in this match and had their team on the ropes on a couple different occasions. Unfortunately, we were unable to close out either of those close sets. I still felt good about our performance in that match overall. I don't believe our girls needed to be hanging their heads afterwards," said Coach.
During the weekend, several players made significant contributions. Freshman Outside Hitter Kim Hall led the team with 38 kills and also added 42 digs. Freshmen Outside Olivia Hallet had 28 kills, 42 digs, and 5 aces. Bryleigh Buchanan finished with 29 kills and 17 blocks. Kameryn Sillmon added 33 kills and led the team with 21 blocks. Sophomore Setter Shelbey Saye led the team with 87 assists and Sophomore Taytum Murdock added 61 assists and 27 digs. Freshman Libero Alanis Below led the team with 48 digs.