Southeast Missouri State University student publication

SEMO Women's Volleyball sweeps Tennessee State

Sunday, September 25, 2022
(Left) Libero Tara Beilsmith, middle blocker Talia Gouard and outside hitter Kayla Closset all prepare for a set from setter Kaelyn O’Brien.
Photo by Nathan Gladden

The SEMO women’s volleyball team beat the Tennessee State Tigers in straight sets on Friday at Houck Field House, battling back from big deficits in the first two sets and receiving big performances from redshirt junior setter Kaelyn O’Brien and junior outside hitter Kayla Closset.

SEMO battled back from a six-point deficit in the first set, and a five-point deficit in the second set, winning both 26-24 and 25-23, respectively. The Redhawks would go on to soundly win the third set by a score of 25-22

Southeast head coach Julie Yankus said she was proud of the resilience her team showed.

“We’ve talked about being resilient,” Yankus said. “We’ve faced adversity all season so far with ups and downs and just different things we’ve had to handle. So I think us being in tough situations already early in the season has helped us respond appropriately and we just went after it.”

Kaelyn O’Brien found success on offense and defense and was just one kill shy of a triple-double. She gave most of her success in Friday’s matchup to her teammates.

“I think my teammates were doing everything they could to help me out,” O’Brien said. “They were putting me in good positions which was allowing me to do what I did.”

O’Brien ended the match with nine kills, 18 assists and 10 digs.

Kayla Closset was also a standout performer, leading the Redhawks in attacks with 34 and kills with 10.

Closset gave credit to the Tennessee State defense, but said her time in practice lead to her success on the court.

“I think they’re a very good defensive team, and I think we’ve been working a lot in the gym at practice this week, just finding those big corners and finding what’s open,” Closset said.

The Redhawks will be back in action at 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 30 on the road at the University of Tennessee at Martin.