Cougars Go 2-0 on Day One of Avila Invite
Behind a strong offensive performance guided by sophomore middle blocker Samantha Lovell, USF began the day with a four-set triumph over Oklahoma City University (4-7), 25-18, 21-25, 25-23, 25-23.
“We started strong in the initial set, but stepped off the gas pedal a little in sets two through four,” head coach Joel McCartney said. “I was unhappy thinking that we didn't learn our lesson from last weekend's loss to Jamestown, but we eked out a win in four today.”
USF tallied a .417 hitting percentage, with junior Alexa Reed making 48 assists in the contest to go with three kills without an error, one ace and 12 digs.
Lovell hit a match-high .714 with 10 kills on 14 swings and put up a career-high seven blocks, two of those solo. Senior outside hitter Chanda Goedken compiled a double-double with 14 kills and 10 digs.
McCartney gave significant praise for both Lovell and Goedken.
“Chanda was a star for us this morning with her court leadership; her intensity showed up on both sides of the net offensively and defensively,” McCartney said. “Sam was also pretty fired-up blocking and had a great attack efficiency.”
Sophomore Emily Johnson posted a team-high 16 kills. Freshman Kelle Griese, Johnson’s former Platte-Geddes teammate, contributed seven kills and 13 digs.
Junior libero Andrea Odbert added 21 digs.
“On the defensive side of things, Andrea was able to keep us going in some of the longer rallies and we appreciated her stability,” McCartney said.
Harris-Stowe State University was no match for USF in the evening contest, as the Cougars swatted the Hornets 25-6, 25-7, 25-6 for their fourth sweep of the season.
“I challenged the team tonight with getting together and creating a team personality which would better define who we wanted to be on the court,” McCartney said. “They had an incredible response to that challenge and I couldn't have been more proud.”
“This match could have been a real mental test of our patience, but it turned out to be a pretty fun moment for our team,” he added.
Once again, Lovell and Goedken helped to create a stalemate in front of the net for USF.
Every time an opportunity arose for a Hornet score, Lovell and Goedken would be in front of the net to play the spoiler, often times delivering violent spikes to grab a purple and white score.
Goedken finished with three kills, four blocks and 10 aces, the most recorded by a Cougar since the 2009 season (Sneller/Heeney, 9/12/09, William Jewell).
Lovell chipped in four kills and three blocks.
“Chanda caught fire from the service line and gave us another great performance of leadership,” McCartney said. “She is continuing to mature in her role and starting to take over moments of the match.”
Several freshmen joined in on the fun, as rookies Griese, Michelle Ritland, Natalie Minchow, Olivia Rodenbaugh and Jessica Baker all logged minutes in the match. Minchow shined in particiular, recording seven kills on nine swings for a .778 attack clip to go with two blocks.
“I was really happy to see so many of our hard working athletes enter the match,” McCartney added. “I particularly good moments tonight from our freshmen, Olivia, Jessica and Natalie.”
The Cougars continue play at the Avila University Invite tomorrow, beginning with a 9 a.m. tilt versus Haskell (2-5), followed by a 3 p.m. matchup against Bethel (Kan.) College.