WIU support precedes victory

Marvin Holman

With the highest attendance of the season at Western Hall Friday, the Westerwind volleyball team did not disappoint, defeating Chicago State University in three games to snap a four-match losing streak.The Cougars, who entered the game 0-13 for the year with a NCAA-record 133 consecutive losses, made things tough for the ‘Winds early in the first game by scoring the first two points.

WIU came back to take a 6-2 lead and upped the lead to 10-3 before the Cougars roared back to make it 10-11.

CSU later tied the game at 13 before the ‘Winds scored the last points of the game to take the 15-13 win.

Head coach Jolene Vinson was wary about the Cougars’ play. “They’re a much improved team from last year, and that’s something that I told the team before the match,” Vinson said. “It wasn’t a quick match by any sense of the word. One thing about volleyball is that the momentum can switch. You can’t take anybody lightly; you’ve got to come in and play well.”

The ‘Winds started to dominate the match in the second game, building a 11-1 lead and winning the game 15-2.

WIU improved their attack percentage from a .205 in the first game to a .360 in the second game.

In the third game, the ‘Winds jumped out to a 6-0 lead, which, with the strong serving of sophomore outside hitter Jessica Sullivan and freshman outside hitter Sallie Bowles, who had five and four service aces respectively, gave WIU a 15-4 victory to clinch the match.

“We are a strong serving team and that’s something we can really use as a weapon. We have in the past against some teams and it’s come up big for us,” Vinson said about the 16 service aces WIU had during the match. “You can win a lot of volleyball matches if you can get five easy points off a team during a game and I’m real excited about that.”

The ‘Winds showed balance in attack percentage during the game, ending up with an attack percentage over .300 with Bowles leading the way with 10 kills.

Junior middle blocker Jennifer Dockemeyer had nine; sophomore outside hitter Amy Lenz had eight; freshman outside hitter Jennifer Brandt had five; and sophomore center Vicki King had four kills and 30 assists.

“It was a very balanced attack. I thought that Vicki was setting our middles a little low but she started connecting with them and when you do that, it opens more opportunities on the outside,” Vinson said. “This was the first time all year that we hit the .300s and when you do that, you tend to win volleyball matches.”

The crowd of 1,054 at the game for Homecoming was a welcome sight for the team and Vinson hopes that this support can continue.

“We definitely appreciate it and we want that again,” Vinson said. “All of our athletic teams need that kind of support and not just for this weekend. We have a lot of big games left and it really means a lot to have that kind of support, and I hope everyone comes back out.”

The ‘Winds are now 3-13 with a 1-1 Mid-Continent Conference record and will go to Chicago Tuesday to face Loyola University. They will return to Macomb for weekend action against Mid-Con rivals Oral Roberts University and UMKC.