MACOMB, Ill. - The Western Illinois volleyball team (5-6, 0-1) opened Summit League play at home Friday evening (Sept. 14) with a hard fought, 3-1 loss to South Dakota (7-5, 1-0).
The Fighting Leathernecks earned a 25-21 set one victory to kick-off the match, but lost the next three sets to the Coyotes by scores of 25-19, 25-23 and 25-21.
“Honestly, we played really well against a great team," said head coach April Hall. "South Dakota really brought it tonight. I think we started out well then just kind of tapered off towards the end. Consistency has been our main key since preseason so that’s something we’re going to continue to work on going into tomorrow."
Samantha Fournier and Katie Hosteng again led Western offensively with 16 and 12 kills, respectively. Fournier also contributed six digs, four blocks and a service ace, while Hosteng tallied four blocks, three service aces and an assist.
Ann Miller was able to kill nine attacks, her best effort since August 26th.
Bridget Murphy (18) and Bailey Kaloupek (15) led the Leathernecks in digs, while Mallory Gibson finished with a team-best five total blocks.
South Dakota was led by Kendall Kritenbrink who finished with a game-high 18 kills, Tori Kroll who dished out 42 assists, Kim Bulaga who had 15 digs, and Natalie Walseth who tallied five blocks.
Coach Hall knows it will not get any easier in tomorrow night's opponent, Kansas City.
“Kansas City is a tough team, every team in the Summit League is," said coach Hall. "We just need to learn from tonight, we need to start out strong. We can’t have these highs and lows throughout the match and just bank on the highs getting us through. Ultimately in the end its that calm intensity that’s going to get us through games, so we're going to take that into tomorrow and hope we come out on top.”
Western and Kansas City are slated to begin their match tomorrow night at 7 p.m. inside Western Hall.