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

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Defense leads volleyball into C-USA tournament

SMU middle blocker Kendra Kahanek (7) and outside hitter Dana Powell (6) block a hit from Tulanes Jen Linder on Oct. 12 at Moody Coliseum. The Mustangs will begin play in the Conference USA tournament today at noon.
Lindsey Perkins
SMU middle blocker Kendra Kahanek (7) and outside hitter Dana Powell (6) block a hit from Tulane’s Jen Linder on Oct. 12 at Moody Coliseum. The Mustangs will begin play in the Conference USA tournament today at noon.

SMU middle blocker Kendra Kahanek (7) and outside hitter Dana Powell (6) block a hit from Tulane’s Jen Linder on Oct. 12 at Moody Coliseum. The Mustangs will begin play in the Conference USA tournament today at noon. (Lindsey Perkins)

The SMU volleyball team faces the University of Central Florida Knights at noon today in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament in Memphis, Tenn.

The Mustangs (14-16, 6-10 in conference) are the No. 8 seed. They finished the season on a high note with a 3-1 win against Tulsa on Sunday, which snapped a three-match losing streak. UCF (14-16, 6-10) is the No. 9 seed.

The Mustangs’ win against Tulsa on Sunday proved it has a formidable defense, which must be reckoned with in the tournament. In the match against Tulsa, SMU set a Conference USA record for block assists in a match with 40.

Junior Kendra Kahanek put up 17 block assists, which set both school and conference records. The performance earned her conference Defensive Player of the Week honors.

The Mustangs go into the tournament ranked No. 1 in both blocks and digs in the conference. The defensive front line of middle blockers Natalie Peters and Kahanek (153 combined blocks) and the backside presence libero Sidney Stewart (437 digs) have moved SMU to the top of the defensive categories.

SMU and UCF have almost identical conference and season records this year. SMU faced the Knights earlier this season, winning 3-2 after trailing 2-0 after two sets.

In that match, sophomore Kathryn Wilkerson notched 21 kills and 23 digs. She has a team-high of 341 kills this season, and freshman Dana Powell has 296.

UCF is coming off a three-match losing streak, with two of those losses coming in five sets. The Knights are 2-6 on the road in conference play and 5-4 in neutral-site matches.

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