TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - The Western Illinois volleyball team (2-3) found success Saturday (Sept. 1) as the team played two matches and picked up two victories. The Fighting Leathernecks opened action in the Drury Inn Jessica Barkman Memorial Classic hosted by Indiana State with a 3-2 victory over SIU-Edwardsville before sweeping Loyola (Chicago), 3-0.
"All week at practice we've been talking about leaving it all on the court," said head coach April Hall. "Every ball gets a hand on it, every swing has a purpose and we will do everything in our power to leave the court knowing we did all that we could at every given moment."
"Both SIU-E and Loyola are extremely tough teams who will do great things the rest of their season. The bottom line is we had a very specific game plan for each team and we executed with conviction. We relied on our seniors Bridget Murphy and Katie Hosteng but found leadership from each individual. Although we're ecstatic about today's wins, we are focused and getting geared up for tomorrow."
Junior Sarah Fetter continued to setup her teammates, racking up 74 of the teams 87 assists, and senior Bridget Murphy led the team in digs with 46. Sophomore Mallory Gibson helped protect the net, blocking five total hits.
Western Illinois vs. SIU-Edwardsville
The 2012 Fighting Leathernecks volleyball team (1-3) picked up its first win of the season Saturday morning (Sept. 1), a 3-2 victory over SIU-Edwardsville in the opening match of the Drury Inn Jessica Barkman Memorial Classic hosted by Indiana State. The five-set win also marked the first of head coach April Hall's career.
"Being down in the first set was challenging mentally coming off of a 0-3 weekend, but the girls showed resiliency in their play and an ability to rise above our own obstacles and those created by SIU-E," said coach Hall. "The Cougars executed very well this morning and gave us their best effort. We are happy with the win but still not satisfied."
Western dropped set one 25-17, but came out on top in sets two (25-19) and three (15-17). The Cougars were able to take set four 25-23 to force a fifth set, but after falling behind 6-3 early, the Leathernecks rallied to earn a 15-13 win in set five, and take the match, 3-2.
Leading the way for the Leathernecks was sophomore Samantha Fournier who put down a career-high 21 kills in the match. Her previous career-high came last season when she finished with 14 kills on 30 attempts at South Dakota State (Sept. 17). Her 21 kills was also the most a Leatherneck has recorded in a match this season.
On top of her 21 kills, Fournier had 14 digs, a team-high two service aces, an assist and a block.
Senior Katie Hosteng and junior Heather Smith each tallied double-digit kills in the match with Hosteng recording 15 and Smith killing 12. Junior Sarah Fetter continued to rack up assists, finishing the match with 49.
As a team, Western finished with season-highs in kills (62) and digs (81).
Western Illinois vs. Loyola (Chicago)
After picking up their first win of the season earlier in the day, the Leathernecks didn't waste any time picking up win number two of 2012, sweeping Loyola 3-0, handing the Ramblers their first loss of the year.
The Leathernecks earned set victories by scores of 25-16, 25-21 and 25-22.
"We knew we had a tough match ahead of us as Loyola had not seen a loss yet this season against some great competition," said head coach April Hall. "We came into our match relaxed and focused, determined to make even more strides forward, and we did."
Senior Bridget Murphy and Fournier led the team in digs with 15 and 14, respectively. Fetter also added nine digs.
The Leathernecks finished the match with a season-high seven blocks, with Hosteng leading the way, stuffing two solo blocks and helping out on two others. Sophomore Mallory Gibson and Fournier each had three block assists.
The Leathernecks will look to keep their momentum going tomorrow afternoon when they face invite hosts Indiana State at 1 p.m. CT.