The Savage Storm put up some impressive individual numbers against a top regional volleyball team on Tuesday at Bloomer Sullivan Gym. Unfortunately, the numbers were not enough to stop a losing skid that has now reached 14 games.
Southeastern (2-23) dropped three sets to the Lions of Arkansas-Fort Smith (20-2) by scores of 25-15, 25-19 and 25-15. The Storm took early leads in all three sets before devastating runs turned the tide for the Lions.
“We did well in the first half of each set, but we just couldn’t maintain the focus,” said SOSU Volleyball Coach Jenn King. “Our energy was lacking in some areas. When you play a great team like this, you can’t come out tentative.”
Madelynne Cera was one kill shy of a rare triple double, with 10 digs, 10 assists and nine kills. Three volleyballers reached double figures on digs including Cera; Taylor Benner and Marina Dias both had 11, and Dias logged a double-double with her 11 digs and 10 assists.
Megan Kunkel had a game-high three aces on service, including a pair in the opening moments which gave Southeastern an early 4-1 lead. Kunkel also had seven digs.
Cera got the Storm off to a good start in the second set, scoring the first two points (one from an ace) and five of the first nine as Southeastern took a 9-8 lead. Emily Gentle (eight kills) tied the game at 11 after the Lions started roaring back.
A 10-0 run for Arkansas-Ft. Smith deflated the Storm, but Gentle scored again to temporarily stop the damage at 21-12. Natasha Smith and Cera got some points back as the Storm cut the lead to five before the Lions took the match.
An ace from Kunkel and three kills from Gentle got the Storm off to a 4-3 start in the third set. Southeastern fell behind, tied the set at 11, but fell behind for the third and final time. Their final point was a service ace from Kristin Martin.
The Savage Storm will return to Bloomer Sullivan Gym at 7 p.m. Thursday against East Central (8-18). This is a critical conference game, as Southeastern is on the bubble with a 1-9 record, tied with Henderson State (also 1-9) for the eighth and final post-season tournament spot.