Volleyball Loses Fourth Seed

The situation is a familiar one for the Saint Louis University women’s volleyball team, they needed two wins and couldn’t get them. “We’ve struggled with nerves as of late,” said head coach Marilyn Nolen.

The Bills were under pressure to get two wins to secure the number-four seed in the Conference USA tournament; they only netted one. DePaul secured the four-seed by beating the Billikens in four games on Sunday. The Bills are now 9-7 in conference and 22-8 overall.

On Friday the Bills took out a solid Marquette team in four games to set up the showdown with DePaul on Sunday. SLU took the first game with a solid score of 15-10. Marquette tried to get back into the match, but fell in a close game, 15-13. In the third game, the Golden Eagles were too much for SLU as the Bills fell, 15-10. The Bills then bounced back to take another close game and the match with a 15-12 win.

The Bills were paced by senior middle hitter Laura Risley, who tallied 27 kills and ten digs; and she hit an eye popping .469. Sophomore middle hitter Cristal Leonard put up 23 kills and 12 digs while freshman middle hitter Colleen Hunter put in another good performance with 19 kills and 7 digs.

“We played extremely well,” Nolen said.

The Billikens then turned their attention to the DePaul Blue Demons.

In order for SLU to secure the tie-breaker for the four-seed they had to defeat DePaul in four sets or less.

The Bills got into trouble early by falling behind 7-3. The Bills did manage to overcome their early deficit by going on a 7-0 run to put them up 14-11.

DePaul went on a run of their own and took the game, 16-14.

The second game was tight all the way to the end. Neither team went up by more than two points throughout the entire game. The Bills finished off DePaul after a long rally that eventually fell in on the DePaul side of the net, giving the 15-13 win to SLU.

The third set opened like the second. The teams traded points until the score was knotted at nine a piece. DePaul then streaked to the victory with six unanswered points.

The Billikens hopes of taking the fourth seed had disappeared; they were now just fighting for the victory.

The fifth set was as close as the previous three. With the Billikens down 4-1, Moss served for four straight points as the Bills took the lead, 5-4.

SLU and DePaul traded points until the Blue Demons exploded for seven straight points. The Bills scored one more point and then fended off the inevitable for five straight possessions, but DePaul was too much and finally ended the match, 15-9.

Moss bounced back to lead the Bills with 22 digs and four service aces. Risley led the team with 24 kills and put in 13 digs. Martin led SLU with 61 assists and added 18 digs and two aces.

“We were playing with low energy,” Nolen said. “As the match went on, we lost focus. The game plan went out the window.”

The Billikens now turn their attention to UAB in the first round of the Conference USA tournament.

“We really played well against UAB at home,” Nolen said. “There’s a lot of young teams with young talent,. and if they can play at their level, it’s anyone’s tournament.”