After nothing but away tournaments to start their season, the JSU volleyball team finally came home and delivered a pair of victories against their first two OVC opponents.
The first match was on Friday night against the Cougars of SIU Edwardsville. The Gamecocks were forced into five sets after they dropped the first. The following two sets belonged to JSU before they again dropped the fourth and finally won out in the final. JSU had a chance to seal their victory before being pushed into another set but SIUE took advantage of JSU’s mistakes to force another set.
JSU led in attack percentage with .206 over SIUE’s .198. In three out of the five sets, JSU had over .200 attack percentage, and in set three they had .317. Nicole Merget led the night in kills with 20. Allyson Zuhlke was behind her with 14, Brianne Glidewell had 11 and Emily Rutherford contributed 10. On defense, five Gamecocks were in the double digits for digs including Rutherford with 18, Glidewell and Samantha Bohne with 17, Hannah Kirk with 15 and Jennifer Hart with 14. Hart also contributed 53 assists on the night, which was a game high.
The Cougars were led on offense by Kristen Torre who had 29 kills and led on defense by Chelsea Colclasure who had 26 digs.
The finals for the first match were 21-25, 25-21, 25-20, 24-26, and 15-13 in JSU favor.
Saturday afternoon marked the second of the OVC match-ups. JSU walked away with yet another victory after they survived in five sets for the second time in two days. This time it was against Eastern Illinois. It was the same story for the Gamecocks as they lost in set one, won the following two, dropped the fourth and finally pulled the victory out in the fifth. It was almost a loss for the team as they powered back from an early deficit to take the lead only to have EIU claim it right back at 13-12. When it seemed that the Panthers would claim the win, JSU scored the final three points and brought the score to its final.
The Gamecocks cruised to a .282 attack percentage and they hit over .300 in three out of five sets. There were three Gamecocks who had kills in the doubles, including Merget who had the lead in kills for the second time in as many days with 21. Bohne led on defense with 17 digs while four others had digs in the doubles. Hart had 59 assists, just behind EIU’s Marah Bradbury who had 63.
The finals for the game against EIU were 25-27, 25-22, 30-28, 23-25, and 15-13 in favor of the Gamecocks.
The Gamecocks improve to 8-8 on the season and will go into their next game undefeated in conference play against Tennessee Tech. The game will be Tuesday at Pete Matthews Coliseum before the team returns on the road to face UT Martin.