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Redhawks win third in a row
As Southeast Missouri State's volleyball coach, Renata Nowacki could not enjoy Tuesday night's match as a normal fan would.
Still, Nowacki was able to appreciate what had just transpired against visiting Arkansas State.
"It was fun to watch," Nowacki said. "It was exciting."
For Nowacki and the Redhawks, the ultimate excitement was coming out on the winning end and avenging an earlier loss to the Indians.
The Redhawks prevailed in four games, squeezing out a 28-30, 30-25, 30-26, 30-28 nonconference victory at Houck Field House.
"I thought we really kept our composure," Nowacki said.
Southeast, which lost in four games to ASU on Sept. 20 in Jonesboro, Ark., improved to 9-12 with its third straight win. The Indians fell to 8-13.
"It felt good to beat them, after they beat us earlier," Southeast senior Lauren Scannell said. "We played a lot better than we played over there."
Added Southeast's other senior, Jill Miller: "We had solid play from a lot of positions. We played a lot better than we did the last time, plus we were at home. That helps."
Junior Jessica Koeper, a Jackson High School product who leads Southeast in kills, had her third straight double-double, recording 19 kills and 22 digs.
Sophomore Brenna Schlader had 16 kills and six blocks, while junior setter Jamie Baumstark posted a triple-double with 49 assists, 16 digs and 12 kills. With three aces, she also moved into sixth place on the school's career list.
Scannell, Southeast's defensive specialist at the libero position, led in digs with 25. She has had at least 10 digs in 25 consecutive matches, dating back to last season.
Scannell, the younger sister of former Southeast volleyball star Emily Scannell, said she relishes her defensive role.
"It feels good," said Scannell. "I'm just taking what I can get."
Miller, who added 21 digs and nine kills, praised the Redhawks' defensive performance Tuesday.
"Defense doesn't get as much recognition as hitting, but it's just as important," Miller said. "We played good defense tonight."
Sophomore Brittany Hastings contributed eight kills, while freshmen Katrina Niemeyer provided a spark with four blocks, including a crucial one in the fourth and final game. Sophomore Sirma Ozenir added eight digs off the bench.
"I thought everybody contributed," Nowacki said.
Robin Aaron powered home 24 kills to lead the Indians.
Southeast led much of the first game, including 20-17, but ASU rallied to post a 30-28 victory.
The Redhawks bounced back and broke a 24-24 tie in the second game to win 30-25.
Game 3 saw the Redhawks lead most of the way to prevail 30-26.
In the fourth game, ASU jumped on top early with leads of 5-0 and 7-1. Southeast rallied to go ahead 27-24, but the Indians forged a 27-27 tie.
Niemeyer then had a clean kill-block to put the Redhawks ahead for good at 28-27. They led 29-28 when Miller closed out the match with a kill.
"This is a big win for us," Miller said. "Now we've got a streak going."
Southeast, in fifth place in the Ohio Valley Conference with a 5-3 record, resumes league play Friday at Jacksonville State.