By Daniel Mayes
The Jacksonville State University volleyball team fell to the Southern Illinois-Edwardsville Cougars 3-1 in a home Ohio Valley Conference match on Saturday afternoon.
The defeat at the hands of SIUE followed a 3-2 loss to Eastern Illinois on Friday and brings the Gamecocks’ record to 17-13 overall and 5-5 in OVC play.
The win for the Cougars brings their record to 15-6 and 8-2 in the OVC and puts SIUE in second place in the conference standings.
In Saturday’s match, valiant efforts from Jacksonville State’s Allyson Zuhlke, Sadie Anderson and Rachel Perucki were not enough for the Gamecocks to overcome a 2-0 set deficit to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, and Jacksonville State fell to the Cougars 3-1.
Zuhlke led the Gamecocks in kills with 13 and shared the team lead of 13.5 points with Anderson, who was the only other Gamecock with double figures in kills with 11, while Perucki was the match leader in assists with 27.
Jacksonville State got out to a quick 3-1 lead in the first set against SIUE, but the Cougars used a 6-0 run later in the set to take the lead and win the first frame 25-20.
The Gamecocks’ struggles extended into the second set as well, as the Cougars took a 7-1 lead and never looked back, winning the set 25-14 and sending JSU into intermission in a 2 sets to 0 hole.
Jacksonville State came into the match leading the nation in total blocks, but the Gamecocks were unable to record a single block in the first 2 sets.
After the intermission, JSU looked ready to stage a comeback in the match.
A quick 3-0 run by Jacksonville State when the score was tied at 12-12 allowed the Gamecocks to pull away from the Cougars and win the set 25-18.
Jacksonville State was able to keep the Cougars to an attack percentage of only -.026 in a dominant third set for the Gamecocks.
JSU continued their hot play into the fourth set and took a 10-5 lead over the Cougars.
SIUE kept chipping away at the deficit however, and finally erased the Gamecocks’ lead, pressed their advantage, and eventually built a 24-19 lead of their own over JSU.
Jacksonville State refused to give up, however, scoring 4 straight points with the Cougars at match point to make the score 24-23 in favor of SIUE.
A final kill by Ashley Witt of the Cougars sealed victory in the set and the match for SIUE.
After the defeat, JSU now has just a 1-6 record against SIUE since the two teams first met in 2011.
Jacksonville State will hit the road for their next two matches, as they will face Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State Oct. 28 and 29 respectively.
JSU returns to Pete Mathews Coliseum to take on Belmont on Nov. 4 at 7 p.m.