Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cardinal volleyball season ends in the playoffs

By Mary Nordick 
Cardinal Staff 
SMU's Kaylee Bunne goes up for a block during the MIAC playoff semifinal match against St. Thomas.
Photo by Chris Ebert

It has been an exciting couple of weeks for the Saint Mary’s University volleyball team as they battled through the MIAC playoffs.

On Oct. 23, the Cardinals secured their spot in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) playoffs when they beat Gustavus Adolphus College 3-1. The ladies ended regular season play with a record of (23-8) and a fifth seed overall in the MIAC.

The team began post season play by travelling to Concordia Moorhead. The Cardinals took on the Concordia Cobbers on Tuesday Nov. 5. The stakes were high; both teams were fighting for the next playoff game.

Senior Setter Lexi Assimos said, “In the Concordia game we all came out with the same drive. We all wanted the same thing. After every point there was a rush of intense energy.”

The team kept the pressure on and their energy high throughout the match. The Cardinals went on to sweep the Cobbers 3-0 in their home gym. Head volleyball coach Mike Lester said that “everybody played really well. Defensively we played well, we served well, and we played well offensively.”

This victory earned them another chance to play St. Thomas, a team who they had played a week prior.

Two days after the Concordia victory the Cardinals travelled to St. Paul, Minn., to take on the defending national champs, the Tommies. A number of SMU students and faculty travelled to the game to cheer on the Cardinals. The ladies came out fighting, winning the first set 25-22, but then the Tommies came back to win the next three.

"We were all trying to fight for that same goal, we were all defiantly on the same page unfortunately we all just came out a little behind,” said Assimos.

Coach Mike Lester commented “I thought we played even better against St. Thomas. For the last week of the season and the last two matches, you could not have asked for a better performance.”

The Cardinals ended their season with a record of 24-9. This was the second-most wins in SMU Volleyball history.

After this year, the team will loose two senior leaders, middle hitter Kaylee Bunne and setter Lexi Assimos. “Both of them have been an integral part of our team. They will defiantly be missed,” said Lester. “Both provided such great leadership for us as a team on and off the court. To their credit I think that the legacies and tradition they have established are going to continue in the next years.”

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