Volleyball looks to halt the Pioneers

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Volleyball looks to halt the Pioneers

Claire Grove returns the ball in a home game.

Claire Grove returns the ball in a home game.

Ariel Ramirez/courier staff

Claire Grove returns the ball in a home game.

Ariel Ramirez/courier staff

Ariel Ramirez/courier staff

Claire Grove returns the ball in a home game.

Becca Langys, Courier Staff

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The Western Illinois University volleyball team (6-13) has been preparing this week to play against the University of Denver (12-5) tonight at 7pm in Denver, Colo.

The team continues to struggle as their losing streak continues. The Leathernecks have put a huge focus on momentum and energy this season, but in doing so, have been falling short on their in-game outcomes. Their momentum during games has greatly improved over the course of the season, and now that the energy is there, they can finally focus on their execution.

Their upcoming match in Denver, Colo. will prove to be a challenge. The University of Denver doubles the Leathernecks win total this season, making them a daunting rival for the Leathernecks.

Sophomore libero Claire Grove has stood out defensively for Western, leading  the team with a total of 31 digs on the season so. Grove continues to be a dominant player for the Leathernecks. Trailing behind Grove, another impactful player defensively is senior outside-hitter Shalyn Greenhaw who has a total of 228 digs this season. Red-shirt freshman Mackenzie Steckler leads the Leathernecks at the net with a total of 76 blocks this season, and close behind Steckler, junior middle-hitter Emilee Dechant has earned a total of 66 blocks.

The Leathernecks have had a very strong season offensively so far. Steckler has lead the team in kills, earning a total of 181 for Western. She is also the highest-earning player on the team, earning a total of 233 points overall for the Leathernecks. Just trailing Steckler, freshman outside-hitter Emma Norris has racked up a total of 168 kills on the season.

Jaime Johnson is leading the Leathernecks in assists, recording a total of 644 so far this season. Johnson also leads the team in service points, with 12 aces this season.

Statistically speaking, the Leathernecks have a slightly higher kill-rate than the Pioneers, with 848 compared to the 797 kills earned by Denver. The offensive gameplay during this match is expected to be very evenly matched between both teams, and defense will be especially crucial. Western Illinois has a record of 1,234 digs compared to Denver’s 957 digs, making Western more likely to be successful in tonight’s match on defese.

Western also leads Denver in blocks. The Leathernecks have a total of 164 against the Pioneers 138.

Tonight’s match between the Leathernecks and the Pioneers should be hard fought. Although Western’s record  does not measure up to Denver’s, the statistics show that the Leathernecks have a good shot at winning. If the Leathernecks come out with strong offense, and, more importantly, a tough defense, they have a good chance at earning their second conference win.

Twitter: beccalangysxo

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