Mounting injuries wreak havoc on Southeast volleyball team

Sunday, October 11, 2009
Southeast's Paige Dossey leaps to spike the ball during the Redhawks' match against Tennessee Tech on Saturday night. (TIM BRUMITT ~ Special to the Southeast Missourian)

It seems like the Southeast Missouri State volleyball team can't catch a break.

The Redhawks have been beset by injuries all year, which coach Renata Heard said has forced her to shuffle her lineup on a regular basis.

"We haven't had the same starting lineup two matches in a row," Heard said.

The injury-riddled Redhawks suffered their fourth straight loss Saturday, falling to visiting Tennessee Tech in a tight match 22-25, 25-21, 26-24, 23-25, 15-9.

That came after Friday's 25-20, 25-23, 25-22 home loss to Ohio Valley Conference leader Jacksonville State.

Southeast's Amanda Rickhoff tips the ball over Tennessee Tech's Marie Peddicord, center, and Melanie Culp during their match Saturday.

Southeast is 6-12 overall and 3-6 in OVC play.

"They're fighting. They want it," Heard said. "But we're just not catching any breaks so far."

While senior libero Molly Davis said the defeats are frustrating, she is confident the Redhawks still will be able to make some noise once they get healthy.

"We always seem to have injuries," said Davis, noting that the 2008 Redhawks also were hampered in that area. "But we'll fight through them."

Preseason all-OVC senior setter Sarah Barth has not played yet in a conference match after suffering a broken wrist during an early-season tournament.

Southeast's Claire Keaton listens to assistant coach Jeremiah Larsen during a timeout Saturday.

Preseason all-OVC junior outside hitter Claire Keaton has seen little action due to an injury.

Senior outside hitter Karleigh DeLong, another preseason all-conference selection, also has missed several matches due to injury. Ditto for other players.

All told, only five Redhawks have seen action in all 18 matches.

"We'll all come back strong and we'll be ready" for a late-season push, Davis said.

Davis has remained healthy, which is allowing her to build on her school record for career digs.

Davis surpassed the 2,000 dig mark Saturday. She entered the weekend leading the OVC and ranked sixth nationally in digs per game.

"Team success is the most important thing, but individual honors are good, too," said Davis, an Academic All-American who also holds Southeast's single-match record for digs.

Heard said Davis continues to serve as a defensive sparkplug.

"She's keeping us anchored and steady on defense," Heard said.

As a team, Southeast entered the weekend second nationally in digs per game.

"We are a hustling team," Davis said. "We pride ourselves on defense."

Davis had 29 digs Saturday, while senior Amanda Rickhoff added 20.

Junior Emily Hughes led in kills with 21.

Keaton had a double-double with 11 kills and 11 digs while junior Kelly Benacka -- who has filled in at setter for Barth -- recorded a double-double with 54 assists and 15 digs.

DeLong added 11 kills and junior Meagan Webb contributed 11 digs.

Benacka also had a double-double Friday with 25 assists and 18 digs.

Davis led in digs with 19 while Hughes had 12 kills.

Southeast continues a five-match homestand Tuesday night with a nonconference contest against SIU-Edwardsville.

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