Volleyball Ladies Come Up Just Short in Huntsville
Friday, September 10, 2004

Huntsville, Tex.—The Centenary Ladies volleyball team lost both matches on the opening day of the Sam Houston State Invitational on Friday. The Ladies narrowly missed a victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, losing 3-2 in five games before getting shut out by Sam Houston State 3-0.

Centenary (1-5) was down two games to none in the early going to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (4-2) in the tournament opener. However, the Ladies fought back to tie the match at two games apiece with a 30-28 win in game three and a 30-25 triumph in game four. The fifth and decisive game was exciting as the score was tied seven times and the lead changed hands three times. In the end, the Islanders pulled off the victory 30-25, 30-27, 28-30, 25-30, 17-15.

Tracee Byrd continued her torrid play for the Ladies as she racked up a match-high 19 kills in the contest. Ashley Templer and Kelley Heckman posted 16 kills respectively while Templer hit at a team-best .351 clip. Emily Longerot added 12 kills on the morning and fellow freshman Lindsay Bekelja barely missed tying the Centenary record for assists in a match with 54 in the loss. The record currently stands at 57.

Heckman was also impressive from the service line as she rifled four aces and Longerot led the Ladies with 17 digs. Catey Batte managed 15 digs while Stephanie Scanlan chipped in with 11 digs.

Game two saw the Ladies improve again as the match got longer but Centenary ran out of time. The host Bearkats disposed of the Ladies in three games 30-21, 30-22, 30-28. Although the score seemed one-sided, the two teams were near even in all major statistical categories including blocks (4-4), digs (36-31), service aces (9-7), and service errors (10-10). The major difference, however, came in the hitting game as Sam Houston State tallied 48 kills and a .248 kill percentage while Centenary managed only 29 kills and a .118 kill percentage.

Byrd finished with only eight kills to end her five-match streak with double digit kills, but that number does not mean she wasn’t effective. The junior did not commit a single error and finished with a .615 hitting percentage that led all players in the match. Heckman led the Ladies with nine kills and Bekelja recorded 26 assists.

Centenary will play Tulsa at 9 a.m. on Saturday before ending the tournament with a 2 p.m. match-up against Baylor.