Sept. 1, 2006
LARAMIE, Wyo. - The Southern Illinois volleyball team opened the Wyoming Cowgirl Classic Friday with two losses. The Salukis, now 1-4 on the season, dropped the first game to tournament host Wyoming, 3-1. The second match of the day went five games, SIU fell in the last two games and the match, 3-2.
Saluki head coach Brenda Winkeler stressed how critical ball control is to the Saluki game and how young the team she puts on the floor each match has been.
"We struggled with ball control," Winkeler said. "We're extremely young. The second match today we played all freshmen and sophomores with the exception of (Johannah) Yutzy. We just need to cut down on unforced errors."
In the tournament opener, Wyoming outside hitters Annie Meyers and Rachel Smith combined for 46 kills against the Saluki defense in the UniWyo Sports Complex Friday afternoon.
Southern combined to hit .213 in the loss with four solo blocks and 12 block assists, but couldn't overcome a .250 Cowgirl attack, tallying 67 kills to the Salukis' 57.
Sophomore Kristie Berwanger led the Salukis (1-3) with the second double-double of her career, a 17 kill and 15 dig effort. Senior Johannah Yutzy added 12 kills, one solo and four block asssists, while freshman Kelsie Laughlin added 10 kills and 13 digs for her second double-double in as many games.
"Kristie played well," Winkeler added. "She plays with good presence on the floor. Yutzy also had a solid performance. Her consistancy is always important."
Senior setter Holly Marita tallied 30 assists, bringing her career total to 3,265 to move to second all-time at SIU. She passed former Saluki Lisa Cummins with 3,249.
The Salukis were out-hit 70 kills to 54 by New Orleans' front line that hit .185 in the match. SIU countered by hitting just .120, trying to pick up the slack defensively tying a season-high 26 block assists.
Laughlin led the team with her third-straight double-double, including 14 kills, 11 digs, while fellow freshman Chandra Roberson recorded 11 kills and nine block assists. Yutzy added 13 kills and sophomore libero Kristy Elswick tallied 21 digs.
"We had some good performances from our freshmen," Winkeler said. "Marina Medic started her first match and blocked well on the right side for us. Chandra played well and blocked well and Kelsie contributed too. Maybe the stats don't show it, but their presence on the court kept us in those close games."
"The youth on this team is encouraging," Winkeler added. "It's great to see the productive play from our youngsters. We'll get to where we need to be."
SIU wraps up tournament play Saturday against Birmingham-Southern at 6 p.m. CT.