Necks slump down the Summit League


Becca Langys/ Photo Editor

Cassie Hunt sets the ball for her teammate Riley Schumacher inside Western Hall.

David Koier, Courier Staff

DENVER — The Western Illinois Fighting Leathernecks volleyball team traveled to Denver this past Sunday to face off in a conference matchup against the Pioneers of the University of Denver.

The Leathernecks were swept for the 10th time this season bringing their overall record to 1-20 and their conference to 0-8.

The first set did not start in the Purple and Gold’s favor as the Pioneers took a 9-2 lead early on. Freshmen Mariah Mitchell and Madeline Dieter helped lead a comeback with a kill a piece bringing the Leathernecks within two. The comeback proved to be futile as an eight-point run helped the Pioneers take the first set 25-12.

The second set started evenly for the two teams as serving aces by Pioneers sophomore Tina Boe and Leathernecks sophomore Cassie Hunt tied the game up at five all. Three kills and an attacking error saw the Pioneers take the next four bringing their lead to 9-5.

The Purple and Gold won the next two to bring the set back to within two. A few back and forths later, the Pioneers still held the lead 12-10. A seven-point run saw Denver pull ahead 19-10, a dominating lead that they would not relinquish. The final set fell in favor of the Pioneers with a final score of 25-13.

The third set saw Western keep up with the Pioneers in a back and forth battle. The beginning of the third set mirrored that of the second set. The teams started all tied up at five, which was followed by another four-point run by the Pioneers.

Later on, seniors Melanie Patenaude and Shiah Sanders each recorded a kill to bring the score to 16-13 in favor of Denver. After Sanders’ kill, Denver head coach Tom Hogan called a time out to try and slow the Purple and Gold’s momentum.

Denver seemed to start pulling away, but the Leathernecks never let the lead get out of control.

The Pioneers looked like they had the win after securing a 24-20 lead, but a kill by Patenaude and an attacking error by Denver freshman outside hitter Graceyn Tippens saw Western cut the lead to two. An attacking error by Patenaude saw the Pioneers win the set and the match, and saw the Leathernecks lose their 20th straight match

Patenaude and Dieter lead the team with five kills each. Patenaude also had a lone block while Dieter had five blocks of her own. Mitchell and sophomore Emma Norris weren’t far behind scoring four kills and one block apiece. Hunt lead the Purple and Gold with 12 assists on the day.

The Leathernecks are back at home in their next two matchups starting this upcoming Sunday at Western Hall against the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons. First serve for that conference matchup is scheduled for 1 p.m. On Oct. 26th, Western will go up against the Coyotes of South Dakota come to Macomb. That serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. The Leathernecks are looking to score their first conference win of the season and first win since Aug. 24th.

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