The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Mustangs split weekend matches

Volleyball clinches a spot in the C-USA tournament

This past weekend at Moody Coliseum, the women’s volleyball team hosted a pair of matches against Tulane University and the University of Texas at El Paso with a berth in the conference tournament at stake.

The Mustangs took on the Tulane Green Wave in a match that head coach Lisa Seifert called a huge measuring stick of how good SMU truly was. The Mustangs had garnered a 14-6 record going into the match, as well as a solid record at home, having won 11 straight matches in Dallas.

That confidence was evident in the first set as the Mustangs played strong defense and capitalized on errors by Tulane to win the set, 25-18. They could not maintain their momentum, however, Tulane rebounded and forced the Mustangs into errors, beating them in the second and third sets, 25-20 in both.

SMU was unable to shift the momentum in the fourth set. While errors continued to plague the Mustangs, they nevertheless fought hard to keep the match close. However, tenacious play-making by the Mustangs wasn’t enough as they fell again to lose the match (18-25, 25-20, 25-20, 26-24).

“We shocked them in the first set, they didn’t expect us to come out the way we did, and as expected they responded,” Seifert said. “We took too long to recover, our serve-receive percentage went down, we couldn’t get the passes close to Kelli [Becerra], we can’t beat teams with that.”

Three Mustangs posted double-doubles in the match. Sophomore Dana Powell had a match-high 20 kills and 18 digs, while sophomore Kelli Becerra had 51 assists along with 14 digs. Junior Kathryn Wilkerson pitched in with 14 kills and 13 digs.

The Mustangs still had a chance to clinch a spot in the conference tournament if they beat UTEP on Sunday. The Miners had beaten the Mustangs in their previous meeting at El Paso, but at that time, Powell and Wilkerson were not at 100 percent.

The Mustangs exploded in the first set behind suffocating defense and big plays from its players, winning the first set 25-19. They did not show any signs of weakness in the second set, playing consistently on their part and allowing UTEP to put themselves behind early with errors. The Miners tried to rally, but the Mustang defense was too strong and SMU took the set, 25-18.

The third set saw the Miners pounce on the Mustangs early, 6-0, but the Mustangs fought their way back into the match and eventually tied it at 17-17. SMU eliminated any chance of a Miner win as they scored eight of the next ten points to win the match (25-19, 25-18, 25-19).

Powell again had a double-double with 14 kills and 10 blocks while Kahanek chipped in 11 kills. Sophomore Sidney Stewart had 15 digs to lead the Mustang defense, while Becerra put up 31 assists.

“We now have to fight for seeding, the higher we go the more lower seed we have to play when we go into the post-season,” Seifert said. “Our story is not yet finished; these girls still have to write it. I have a ton of respect for this team; I am very proud to coach them. I just wish students could come and know them how I do both on and off the court. They are committed, they are passionate, and they have goals. One of them was accomplished tonight.”

Seifert said, “This team is very different from the one we had last year, we have experience and commitment. The girls during the summer would do sprints on the track at 2 in the afternoon and would set up and run their own practices, they committed on their own. This is a special team.”

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