KANSAS CITY, MO -- Sioux Falls volleyball swept through two more opponents on Saturday to go 4-0 this weekend at the Avila University Invite in Kansas City, Mo. The Cougars crushed Haskell Indian Nations University 25-19, 25-15, 25-20 before closing out tournament play with a sweep of Bethel College (Kan.), 25-18, 25-9, 25-14.

The wins also gave the Cougars their best start to a season in school history at 8-1.

Platte-Geddes product Emily Johnson posted two double-doubles on the day and finished with 22 kills and 25 digs. Samantha Lovell hit .500 in both matches and put up a total of 14 blocks.


USF defeated Haskell Indian Nations University (2-6) in three sets thanks to another strong performance by Lovell.

“We got a 3-0 win against an incredibly feisty and well-coached team,” head coach Joel McCartney said. “But we were not able to play as focused as we would have liked.”

Lovell had a flawless match, banging out eight kills on 16 swings with no errors for a .500 attack percentage.

Emily Johnson tallied a double-double with 12 kills and 15 digs. Sarah Kohler chipped in 11 kills and Chanda Goedken added eight.

“There were some great moments today and a lot of credit should go to Sam at the net and Emily in the back court on the defensive side of the ball,” McCartney said. “Chanda also did a nice job of paying attention to all of the little things that helped lead us to the win.”

Junior setter Alexa Reed dished 36 assists.

The Cougars hit .373 as a team with 49 total kills and stuffed the Indians for a total of nine blocks. USF also racked up 10 service aces.

In their last match of the weekend, the Cougars thrashed the Threshers of Bethel College (6-3) in three sets, 25-18, 25-9, 25-14.

“This match was similar to the other three this weekend in that they were all very mentally challenging,” McCartney said. “Sometimes we became our own worst enemies, but overall the Cougars did a great job remaining tough and working well through the difficult moments.”

The Cougars hit a blistering .424 against the Threshers, racking up 48 kills on 92 attempts with just nine attacking errors.  Four players hit at an attack clip of .500 or better.

Johnson recorded another double-double with 10 kills and 12 digs. Lovell and Goedken each tallied eight kills.

Reed had 38 assists and junior libero Andrea Odbert dug out 16 Bethel shots.

“It’s great to have some maturity in the key leadership positions on the floor,” McCartney added. “Both Lex and Andrea did a nice job of taking care of the ball.”

Lovell tossed up eight of the Cougars’ 13 total blocks.

Freshman Kellee Griese, another Platte-Geddes graduate, chipped in 12 digs.

Classmate Michelle Ritland, a 6-4 middle blocker from Hampton (Iowa), posted five kills and no errors on eight swings for a hitting clip of .625.

The performance from the youngsters has McCartney encouraged about what they can bring to the table this season.

“It was great to see some of our younger athletes playing well too,” he said.  “Michelle was unstoppable when she entered the second set and Natalie gave us a great lift in the final set.”

The Cougars have wrapped up their non-conference slate and begin NSIC play on Friday, Sept. 14 at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Courtesy:  University of Sioux Falls