Multiple players contribute as Southeast volleyball remains unbeaten in conference
The Southeast Missouri State University volleyball team is off to a fast start this season and is on a six-game win streak. The Redhawks are 4-0 in the Ohio Valley Conference and lead the OVC West Division.
At 12-6 overall, the Redhawks are on pace to finish better than last season. The team finished 14-19 and qualified as the fourth seed in the OVC tournament , winning its first OVC tournament match since 2006.
"If we can pass, everybody is available and everybody can contribute, and that's why we're winning," second-year coach Julie Folliard said. "You can't just win with one or two people playing effectively. You need to have more people than that, and that's why we're successful."
Junior outside hitter Colleen Yarber had a career-high 22 kills in a win against SIU Edwardsville earlier in the season. Senior outside hitter Brittney Kalinoski had a career-high 18 kills and 24 digs against Eastern Illinois University.
Yarber has had a strong offensive season so far and leads the team with 208 kills. Last season she had 192 kills.
"Colleen's played amazing," Folliard said. "She's just playing relaxed and having fun, and that's when she does well."
The team played its first 16 games on the road and compiled a record of 10-6. Last year the Redhawks struggled away from Houck Field House and finished with an away record of 7-16.
"Last year, it was obvious that we played way better at home," junior setter Julie Shives said. "So, now that we've showed that we can play on the road, then we really have a good chance of doing very well this year."
Junior middle blocker Emily Coon thinks that the momentum from last season has helped propel the Redhawks to a good start.
"Yes, [we're] definitely carrying that momentum over," Coon said. "Of course we are always striving to be No. 1 in this conference. I think our start has definitely proved that we're ready to take that spot."
The Redhawks were 11-9 in conference play last year. That was the first time the team finished above .500 in conference play since the 2008 season when the team went 11-8.
"Last year we ended great. We ended on a very high note," Coon said. "We've been away for so long that coming back into season and being closer to home really gives us that extra push that we need. And we have three awesome coaches, a great set of girls and it's just like a family, and it really helps push you on the court."
Southeast has played only one game at home this season, which it beat UT Martin 3-1. Southeast next plays against Austin Peay at 6:30 p.m. Friday in Houck Field House.