Volleyball splits season opener


Becca Langys/ Photo Editor

Jaime Johnson serving the ball at a home game.

Becca Langys , Photo Editor

MACOMB, Ill.— The Western Illinois University women’s volleyball team opened up their 2018 season in Western Hall during the Hampton Inn invitational. The invitational consisted of four teams total, each team playing three games. The Leathernecks went 1-2 overall.

Last Friday, Western took on Farleigh Dickinson University for their very first game of the 2018 season. The Leathernecks swept the Knights, finishing the match with a 3-0 record (25-12, 25-14, 25-15).

Western completely dominated during their matchup against the Knights, setting their season off to a good start. Offensively, the Leathernecks were led by senior outside-hitter Melanie Patenaude who had a total of 11 kills during the matchup. Closely following Patenaude was senior right-side-hitter Shiah Sanders with 10 kills and junior middle-hitter Riley Schumacher with six kills.

Defensively, the Leathernecks were led by junior libero Claire Grove with 16 digs and senior setter Jaime Johnson who earned a total of 11 digs. At the net, Western was led by Schumacher who topped off at five blocks for the night.

As Saturday afternoon rolled around, the Leathernecks were set to play Tennessee Tech University at 2pm for their second game of the Hampton Inn Invitational. Western finished the match with a record of 1-3 (23-25, 25-15, 22-25, 12-25), making their overall record 1-1.

The Leathernecks struggled to maintain their momentum throughout the matchup against TTU, making it difficult for them to keep up with the Golden Eagles. Leading the Leathernecks offensively, Patenaude raked up 11 kills for the Western, closely followed by sophomore outside-hitter Emma Norris who earned seven kills for the Leathernecks. Johnson led Western at the net with a total of 24 assists.

Western was led defensively by Claire Grove who earned 15 digs and Sanders who earned nine digs.

Closely following was Johnson with six digs. At the net, the Leathernecks were led defensively by Schumacher who earned five blocks for Western and Sanders who earned three blocks.

Saturday Evening, Western was scheduled to face off against the University of Evansville for their third and final game of the invitational. The Leathernecks put up a strong fight against the Purple Aces, taking the match to five games and falling just short of a win. Western finished their match with a 2-3 loss against the University of Evansville (24-26, 23-25, 27-25, 25-23, 15-11), setting their record at 1-2 for the season.

Leatherneck offense came in hot during their third and final match of the invitational. Offensively leading the Leathernecks against the Purple Aces with a standout performance, Patenaude earned 16 kills for Western and Norris closely followed with 15 kills.

Sanders came closely behind her teammates, earning nin kills for the Leathernecks. Johnson led the team at the net with 30 assists, followed by sophomore setter Cassie Hunt who earned 20 assists.

Defensively, the Purple and Gold were led by Claire Grove with 17 digs. Closely following Grove was Johnson with 15 digs and Patenaude with nine digs. Redshirt-sophomore middle-hitter Mackenzie Steckler led the Leathernecks at the net with a total of nine blocks.

Although the Leathernecks did not finish with the 3-0 record that they had hoped to finish the weekend with, Western displayed exemplary determination and stamina throughout the course of the invitational. The Purple and Gold never gave up, even when the score was stacked against them. Head coach Ben Staupe commented on the team’s performance.

“Although it was not the outcome we were looking for, I am really proud of the team today,“ Staupe said. ”We will clean up mistakes in practice and we are looking forward to getting back on the court.”

The Western Illinois University women’s volleyball team will take on Bradley University this Friday August 31st at 6 p.m in Peoria, Ill.

twitter: beccalangysxo