SIUE volleyball had strong performances at the Kangaroo Klassic, but added three more losses to their season over the weekend in Kansas City, Missouri.
“Our games were 100 percent better than the last two weekends; unfortunately we still have not gotten the W, the win, yet, but I don’t really want to focus on that or our record. I’m focusing on the gains and wins we are making as individuals and as a team,” junior outside hitter Dylynn Otte said.
On Friday, Otte lead the team with 16 kills, hitting .361 for the day, as well as recording four blocks.
“I just went out there and I had a very consistent first match, and I focused on first contact, so that was serve receive, and then I really challenged myself to see the court and try to place the ball to get the other team out of system,” Otte said. “I lead the team in kills and I give that credit to my setters, and my defense, because they really set me up for success ... My back row was really, really good with telling me where to swing and that helped me out in executing my shots and my swings.”
The Cougars lost to Providence and UMKC 25-23, 26-24, 25-15 and 27-25, 25-17, 25-17 respectively.
Against Providence, the team collectively had 35 digs, seven blocks, three aces and a hitting percentage of .150. During the UMKC match they had 28 digs, seven and a half blocks, two aces and a hitting percentage of .172.
Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Annie Ellis, who was named to the All-Tournament team, had five blocks and 11 kills during the opening two matches.
“Annie was consistent. Sometimes she hits the ball really hard, sometimes she just puts it in the right spot,” Head Coach Kendall Paulus said. “She makes herself available; she works really hard in transition so the setters feel confident giving her the ball.”
SIUE lost the final match of the tournament against Arkansas State 25-14, 25-20, 25-15. Redshirt freshman middle blocker Hope Everett had eight blocks.
Together the team recorded 12 blocks, 41 digs and two aces.
Ellis led the team with a .313 hitting percentage for the weekend. She had 15 kills and nine blocks during the weekend.
“I put a focus on my blocking and keeping a positive hitting percentage, and with my setters, this is our third tournament now, and we knew where my strengths were and we focused on utilizing my strengths to score against the other teams,” Ellis said.
SIUE volleyball is preparing for their first home tournament of the season, the Cougar Classic. They open the tournament against Northern Kentucky at 6 p.m. Friday in the Vadalabene Center.
“We do feel like we’re turning a new leaf, but they know it’s because of the work they’re gonna put in, worrying about the small details. We talked about that leaving the tournament and they came in Monday really focused,” Paulus said. “Which is hard to repeat after a long weekend; three matches is a lot in a weekend … They came in after three whole weekends and so far put in two back-to-back days of really high-intensity focused practice.”