Losing Streak Stretched To Three

The Saint Louis University women’s volleyball team has found out what whipped cream in a can feels like: under pressure. This past Friday the Bills fizzled against a UNC-Charlotte team that came into the contest 6-7 in conference and 12-14 overall.

“We had a hard time closing out the other team,” said head coach Marilyn Nolen. “We started out fine but fell behind.”

After dropping the first game 5-15, the Billikens battled back and took the next two games, 15-9 and 15-7.

After being down 14-10 in the fourth game, SLU managed to tie the 49ers at 14, but eventually fell, 17-15.

In the rally game, the Bills fell short, 9-15 and a much-needed win escaped their grasp.

The Billikens overall record is an impressive 21-7, but six of their losses have come in conference. Their Conference USA record stands at 8-6.

Senior middle hitter Laura Risley had a good game even though she had the flu. Risley put in a match high 27 kills, three digs and a service ace.

“She played really well,” Nolen said. “I was surprised she played so well since she was battling the flu.”

Sophomore outside hitter Cristal Leonard had a career high 17 digs and 15 kills.

“She plays extremely well on Fridays,” Nolen said. “She had a good game.”

Junior outside hitter Jessica Moss led everyone with 22 digs and added five kills. Sophomore Dani Apted put in 10 digs and a service ace. Freshman outside hitter Missy Werges had seven kills on 13 attempts and a single dig.

“She [Werges] is physically strong and has a great jump,” Nolen said.

Freshman setter Beth Middendorf paced the Bills with 32 assists, four digs and two kills. Sophomore setter Beth Martin passed out 27 assists and had seven digs.

“We’ve played inconsistent,” Nolen said. “Our inside hitters had a good night; our outside hitters didn’t. It seems that one is hot and the other is cold.”

With UNC-Charlotte behind them, the Billikens turn their attention to their final home stand of the year. The Bills spent most of October on the road and will be happy to be home, where they are 8-2. SLU will be looking to protect their home floor as they fight for a top-four position and a first round bye in the C-USA tournament .

On Friday at 7:00 p.m. the Billikens will put their playoff position on the line when they welcome the Marquette Golden Eagles to the friendly confines of Bauman-Eberhardt Athletic Center.

The Golden Eagles, like SLU, have an 8-6 conference record and are looking to steal the fourth seed by winning both of their games this weekend: SLU and UNC-Charlotte.

“Marquette has never been weak and is going to be real confident. They have pulled things together and are playing well,” Nolen said. “They just defeated Louisville and Cincinnati and those are two of the biggest victories in their programs history.”

On Sunday the Billikens will face off against the DePaul Blue Demons at 2:00 p.m. DePaul has their own plans to take the fourth seed. They are sitting a step above the Billikens with a 9-5 conference record and need to win only one game this weekend to secure the first round bye.

“We’ve been waiting for them[DePaul] to come back,” Nolen said. The Blue Demons have been on a tear since they defeated the Bills back on Oct. 8.

In order for SLU to secure the first round bye, they must beat Marquette and then defeat DePaul in four games or fewer to win the tiebreaker.

“The conference has been a little crazy,” Nolen said.