SELU hosts SLC volley leaders

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 25, 2005

HAMMOND – Looking to remain in contention for a berth in the Southland Conference Tournament scheduled for next month, the Southeastern volleyball team will return to action on Friday when it hosts league leader Stephen F. Austin in a 6 p.m. match at the University Center.

After hosting regionally-ranked SFA (18-2, 10-0 SLC), Southeastern will face Sam Houston State (10-9, 8-2 SLC) Saturday at 2 p.m. Admission to both matches is free.

Southeastern (6-12, 2-7 SLC), which currently sits one-half game behind Northwestern State and Louisiana-Monroe for eighth place in the league standings, has gone 2-3 in its current seven-match homestand.

The Lady Lions, who will travel to face Northwestern State and ULM next weekend, dropped their past two matches against veteran clubs Texas State and Texas-San Antonio.

“We played a pair of solid teams in Texas State and UTSA last week and this week doesn’t get any easier for us,” Southeastern head coach Roni Armeda Hipp said of her young team that features eight freshman and 11 underclassmen. “Stephen F. Austin comes in leading the (Southland) conference and they have a lot of weapons on offense led by Laura Cramer, Lauren Railey and Traci Rohde. They have a tremendous setter in JJ Jones and probably the league’s best libero in Stephanie Figgers.”

Keri Hamblin, one of two seniors for Southeastern, leads the team in kills per game (2.75) and is third in digs (3.51).

LaToya Anthony, a redshirt freshman, follows Hamblin for the Lady Lions in kills per game (2.33) while leading the team in hitting percentage (.234) and blocks (0.97). Megan Sutherland paces Southeastern in digs per game (4.07) while senior Chelsie Cude leads the team with 8.63 assists.

SFA, which has won 11 straight matches with the last three on the road, began its streak with a four-game win over Southeastern on Sept. 16. The Ladyjacks rallied from one game down heading into the fourth and defeated arch-rival SHSU in a five-game marathon, claiming the final two games 30-28 and 15-10.

Cramer leads SFA in hitting with 4.00 kills per game followed by Railey (3.22) and Rohde (3.11) – the team leader in hitting percentage (.293). Jones averages a league-best 12.26 assists per game for the Ladyjacks while Figgers paces the conference with 5.41 digs per game.

SHSU, mired in a three-way tie for second-place behind SFA in the league standings, has won eight of its last 11 with two losses coming to SFA and a non-conference setback at Rice.

The Bearkats opened the season 2-6, which included losses to nationally-ranked opponents Texas A&M and Washington, before getting on their recent roll.