Savage Storm volleyball clinched a post-season berth Thursday despite a five-set loss to Southwestern.
By virtue of a Henderson State loss, the Reddies fall to 2-12 and ninth place among post-season eligible Great American Conference teams. Southeastern’s final GAC record of 3-11 gets them into the eighth and final spot for next week’s conference tournament in Searcy, Ark.
The Savage Storm will have the daunting task of facing an undefeated and top-ranked Harding University on the Bison’s home court. Coach Jenn King plans to draw inspiration from last year’s basketball program, which went in as the lowest seed and upset the top seed.
“That’s the mindset we have to have going into this,” she said. “We’ll spend the next seven days prepping to go for it.”
A Thursday win over Southwestern (10-4 in GAC and 12-19 on the season) would have been good inspiration as well. The Storm took the first set 25-22 before dropping the next two to the Bulldogs 25-17 and 25-20. Southeastern forced a short set with a gutsy 25-23 win, but dropped the final frame 15-8.
“Physically, they can win, but they still hesitate,” King said. “They doubt themselves and their ability, and they don’t need to. That’s the part where youth gets us. But when we are doing things well, they can execute the game plan perfectly.”
Emily Gentle had a stellar night with 18 kills, 15 digs and three service aces. Sophomore setter Madelynne Cera continued to make her case as a team leader with another triple-double: 13 digs, 10 kills and 32 of the team’s 44 total assists.
Five Southeastern players reached double digits on digs: Megan Kunkel (17), Gentle (15), Taylor Benner (14), Cera (13), and Kristin Martin (11). Saasha Jacobson of the Bulldogs recorded 36 digs.