SE volleyball nabs three all-OVC picks

Thursday, November 15, 2012
Southeast Missouri State outside hitter Colleen Yarber spikes the ball past Tennessee State's Naomi Wells during the Redhawks' win over the Tigers Saturday, October 13. (ADAM VOGLER)

Southeast Missouri State's impressive volleyball season was recognized Wednesday as the Redhawks had three players receive all-Ohio Valley Conference recognition.

Voting, announced on the eve of the OVC tournament in Morehead, Ky., was done by the league's coaches and sports information directors.

Southeast junior middle blocker Emily Coon and junior outside hitter Colleen Yarber were named to the 14-player all-OVC team, while redshirt freshman middle blocker Taylor Masterson was placed on the seven-member all-newcomer squad.

It's the first time since 2002 that Southeast had two players make the primary all-OVC team.

"They all had great years for us this season and are key parts of our program," Southeast coach Julie Folliard said in a release.

Southeast Missouri State middle blocker Emily Coon tips the ball over during the first set of the Redhawks' four set win over the Tennessee Martin Skyhawks Tuesday, September 25. (ADAM VOGLER)

Coon, a native of Imperial, Mo., is Southeast's first back-to-back all-OVC selection since Jackson High School graduate Jessica Koeper (2005 and 2006).

Coon leads the Redhawks and ranks second in the OVC in blocks at 1.16 per game as she has recorded 145 on the season.

Coon tied a school record for blocks in a match with 12 against Murray State. She also tied the school mark with 11 blocking assists in the match against the Racers.

Offensively, Coon ranks second on the Redhawks with 312 kills, averaging 2.50 per game. She ranks 10th in the OVC in hitting percentage at .268.

"She is a major threat in this league and she did a great job for us both offensively and defensively this season," Folliard said.

Southeast Missouri State middle blocker Taylor Masterson spikes a kill past Arkansas State outside hitter Sadie Clark during the Redhawks' home loss to the Red Wolves Tuesday, October 2. (ADAM VOGLER)

Yarber, a native of Smithton, Ill., leads the Redhawks with 393 kills, the most kills for a Southeast player since 2007. She ranks fifth in the OVC in kills, averaging 3.30 per game. Yarber ranks fifth in the league in points with 447.

Yarber ranked third in the OVC in service aces during conference play with 28. She was also strong defensively, ranking second on the team with 376 digs for an average defensively, ranking second on the team with 376 digs for an average of 3.16 per game.

"She came out fired up this season and maintained it all year to become a great all-around player in this league," Folliard said.

Masterson, from the St. Louis suburb of Chesterfield, Mo., became an impact player after transferring from Alabama.

Masterson ranks second on the squad in blocks with 118. She has 203 kills, averaging 1.62 per game, and ranked fifth in the OVC during conference play in hitting percentage at .297.

"She did a great job for us in her first season with the program," Folliard said.

Southeast tied with Morehead State, Belmont and Tennessee State for the most selections on the primary all-OVC team with two each.

Morehead State senior Ellie Roberson was named OVC player of the year. Tennessee Tech middle blocker Kelsey Gray was tabbed the league's defensive player of the year.

OVC freshman of the year honors went to Abby Saalfrank of Eastern Illinois. Morehead State's Jamie Gordon is the conference's coach of the year.

Tournament opens

Southeast begins play in the eight-team OVC tournament as the No. 2 seed, behind three-time defending regular-season conference champion and host Morehead State.

"We're really excited about the tournament," Folliard said. "Everybody goes in 0-0."

The Redhawks (20-12, 12-4 OVC) play seventh-seeded Jacksonville State (14-16, 8-8) at 12:30 p.m. in today's opening round. Southeast won the only regular-season meeting between the squads in four games on the road.

If the Redhawks win today, they'll face the winner of third-seeded Belmont (15-15, 11-5) against sixth-seeded Eastern Illinois (11-20, 8-8) at 3:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals.

Southeast beat Belmont in five games at home during their lone regular-season meeting. The Redhawks split with Eastern Illinois, winning in four games on the road and losing in five games at home.

Other first-round matchups today pit Morehead State (24-6, 16-0) against eighth-seeded Tennessee-Martin (10-20, 6-10) and fourth-seeded Austin Peay (17-15, 10-6) against fifth-seeded Tennessee State (17-13, 10-6).

Southeast was swept at Morehead State, won two four-game matches from Tennessee-Martin, beat Austin Peay in four games at home while losing to the Govs in five games on the road and defeated Tennessee State in five games at home.

The championship match is set for 5 p.m. Saturday, with the winner earning the OVC's automatic NCAA tournament berth.

Morehead is the defending tournament champion. The Eagles' current 22-match winning streak is tied for the nation's longest and is believed to be the longest in OVC history.

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