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Western volleybal falls short to Coyotes in five

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Western volleybal falls short to Coyotes in five

Shiah Sanders adds with a dig athe BWW Invitational in Macoomb.

Shiah Sanders adds with a dig athe BWW Invitational in Macoomb.

Ariel Ramirez/ Courier Staffz

Shiah Sanders adds with a dig athe BWW Invitational in Macoomb.

Ariel Ramirez/ Courier Staffz

Ariel Ramirez/ Courier Staffz

Shiah Sanders adds with a dig athe BWW Invitational in Macoomb.

Becca Langys, Courier Staff

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VERMILLINION SD. — The Western Illinois University Leathernecks (5-10) volleyball team fought hard against the University of South Dakota Coyotes (7-7) last Friday in S.D, taking the match to five sets (24-26, 20-25, 25-19, 25-20, 10-15).

The Leathernecks had previously been focusing on bringing more effort to the game and carrying that energy throughout the whole match. Although they did not win, this game showed tremendous improvements where effort was involved.

“We talk a lot about the kind of effort and toughness that needs to go into our play every time we step on the court, our kids exemplified that tonight”, said Coach Kelly Richardson, head coach of the Leathernecks.

The Leathernecks were led defensively by junior right side hitter Shiah Sanders and red shirt freshman outside hitter Mackenzie Steckler, both having six successful blocks against the Coyotes. Senior outside-hitter Shalyn Greenhaw led the team in thirty-two digs, adding to the strong defense that the Leathernecks needed to stand up against the tough hits from South Dakota.

Offensively, Greenhaw led the Leathernecks, bringing in a total of twelve kills for Western. Senior setter Jaime Johnson raked up forty-nine assists, making her an impactful player offensively during the match.

During the first game, Western held a close score with the Coyotes, staying neck-and-neck with them until the very last point. The Leathernecks had a good three-point run near the end of the game, sparked by a kill by Freshman setter Cassie Hunt, that kept the intensity high on the court. The run wasn’t enough to beat the Coyotes however, who took the game in a close finish of 24-26 with a match score of 0-1.

The second game was an intense roller coaster of points that waded back-and-forth between the teams dramatically. The game started out normally, each team earning one to two points at a time. When the score was 8-10, the Leathernecks went on a five-point run, mostly resulting from Leatherneck kills and Coyote hitting errors. The momentum from this run was shortly cut off when South Dakota had their own four-point run that put them in the lead.

The Leathernecks responded to this by going on yet another five-point run which really put them in the lead and gave them their momentum back. After this run, the game was neck-and-neck again until South Dakota pulled away with a strong eight-point run that finished off the game with a score of 20-25, match score 0-2.

As the third game rolled around, the Leathernecks came out hot with a three-point lead. Shortly after this run, they had yet another three-point run that put them ahead of the Coyotes 7-3. Western held the lead for a couple points, then was finally met with a coyote comeback which resulted in a score of 11-9. The Leathernecks eventually gained a three-point lead which they continued to build off throughout the remainder of the game. Western Illinois finished the game with a score of 25-19, making the match score 1-2.

Western started the fourth game out strong with a 5-1 lead over South Dakota. The Coyotes struggled to start out the match, bringing in three offensive-errors that put the Leathernecks on top. Western had a strong offensive presence during the fourth game which gave them a good advantage over the Coyotes. South Dakota never had the chance to climb back up from their point-deficit during the early points of this game, leading the Leathernecks to their second win of the night.

In the fifth game of this match, the Coyotes were the ones that came out with the momentum that was needed to win the final game. The two teams remained neck-and-neck for the majority of the time, making it a high-intensity game that both teams were thirsty to win. When the score was 8-10, South Dakota began to pull away, leaving the game final as 10-15, match final 2-3, Leatherneck loss.

“We did a great job fighting all the way to the wire tonight. We had a tremendous defensive effort tonight which allowed us to stay in system offensively as well,” said head coach Kelly Richardson. “We talk a lot about the kind of effort and toughness that needs to go into our play every time we step on the court, our kids exemplified that tonight. We look forward to getting back on the court tomorrow as we prepare for Oral Roberts.”

Although they did not win, the Leathernecks did a great job at keeping the energy and effort high throughout the match, a full five games. The Western defense also really shined throughout the course of this match, giving them a good edge on the Coyote offense. Western Illinois volleyball will play Omaha in Macomb, on Sept. 29.

Twitter: @beccalangysxo

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Western volleybal falls short to Coyotes in five