Billiken Volleyball began road contests this past weekend competing in the Comfort Inn Invitational at Morehead State. The Billikens started the tournament strong with their first sweep of the season defeating host Morehead, 3-0 (25-17, 25-20, 25-15).
Sophomore Megan Gilbert led the Billikens in the first set hammering down five kills with a .571 hitting efficiency. Freshman Danielle Rygelski also contributed four kills of her own. The Billikens went on to hold the Eagles to a .000 hitting percentage in the second set. Freshman Mallory Dillon (six kills) and Danielle Rygelski (five kills) also helped secure the second set win. The third set was paced by Rygelski’s six kills, she closed out the game with a match-best 15 kills on a .367 attack percentage.
SLU continued to dominate the second day of play with a sweep of Montana State, 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-20). The Billikens were unmatched on the defensive end. Megan Gilbert added five total blocks, junior Nicole Sniffen and senior Jessica Jendryk also contributed four blocks of their own. Sophomore Anna Church ran the back row pacing the Billiken defense with 23 digs.
The Billikens fell short in the final match of the day dropping a 3-0 decision to tournament champion IUPUI, 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-21). SLU battled back from a 20-14 deficit in the first set cutting the lead to three at 23-20. Unfortunately, their efforts were inconclusive as IUPUI went on to secure the first set. The Billikens took control early in the second game holding the Jaguars at 13-10. A SLU service error broke the run and led to four subsequent ties, the last at 20-20 before the Jags broke away. Out of the break, the Billikens again took an early lead but the Jags ultimately prevailed closing out the final set 21-25.
The Billikens were paced by the efforts of Sophomore Meredith Boe who racked up 29 assists in the three set match. Anna Church (16 digs) and Erin Nakatsuka (13 digs) also aided in the Billikens efforts. Freshman Mallory Dillon was awarded All-Tournament team plaudits for her efforts over the weekend. Dillon recorded a team high 40 kills and .269 attack percentage in the nine sets of tournament play.
Dillon also collected Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week honors for the week of Sept. 2-8, the first weekly award of the season for the Billikens. On the season, Dillon leads SLU with 80 kills and ranks 27th nationally with 4.21 kills per set, and she is also second on the team with 51 digs.
The Billikens continued road play this past week dropping a three set match in Carbondale, IL against SIUE, 3-0 (25-15, 25-19, 25-19). Saint Louis returns to action this weekend with four matches at Chaifetz Pavilion. Northern Iowa comes to town Friday for a noon match. The Billikens face Miami (Ohio) Friday night at 7 p.m. in the Billiken Challenge, and the tourney continues Saturday against Youngstown State (noon) and Bradley (7 p.m.).