Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 1: Southland Conference Tournament

10:43 AM: Well, after a 5:20 departure from Nacogdoches, and a soggy last hour drive, we are all set up courtside and ready to go for Day 1 of the SLC Tournament. Texas State and SELA are about 15 minutes away from first serve. Crowd filing in here at the Convo. Glad to be nice and dry. It is pouring outside.

11:53 AM: Well, Ben set the over/under at 1:12 for Texas State to eliminate SELA and he's the man. We are on a 1:15 pace so far with Texas State up over Southeastern Louisiana 2-0. Weynand has seven kills with no errors and the Bobacats are hitting .310 compared to SELA's .083. The scores in the sets were 25-16 and 25-15 - about what we expected here in match one.

12:12 PM: Texas State finishes off Southeastern La. 3-0 (25-16, 25-15, 25-20) and advances to the semifinal tomorrow against the winner of our next match which will pit Lamar against UTA. Weynand finishes with a match-high 11 kills (just one err0r). Courtney Donald finishes with a team high seven kills for SELA. Alex Greer digs 12 balls, but SELA hits just .093 for the match and is still looking for their first ever SLC Tourney win. The Bobacats hit .284 as a team in the win. Jessica Srajer, one of SELA's better attackers just could never get on track and finished with just four kills against six errors. The Bobcats hit over .200 in each set. Both teams killed 32 balls, but SELA made 23 errors against only nine for the whole match for Texas State.

12:45 PM: Sitting around waiting for UTSA to get the hospitality room hospitable so we can chow down on free lunch. Forgot to mention that one of the highlights of Game 1 was Jessica Weynand and Brittany Collins of Texas State colliding and then falling into the referee ladder with head ref Ron Stahl perched upon it. We are sitting directly behind the head umpire chair and I really thought Stahl was coming down! It teetered back and forth, but alas... no tumbling down. Dern. I could have teased Stahl about that for years. Lamar and UTA warming up and they get started in 40 minutes according to the clock here in the Convo.

1:55PM: Wow. UT-Arlington comes out absolutely on fire...and FIRED up. They have WAY more energy right now than Lamar and they take set 1 from the Cardinals by a score of 25-21. Tara Frantz doing her best rebuttal to my headshaking of her being 1st team all-conference. Frantz with 8 kills in the first set with no errors. UTA hit a scorching.381 in the first set and the blocking of Emily Shearin and Christy Driscoll was impressive. For some reason Lauren Holdorff did not play in set 1 for Lamar.

2:15 PM: UTA still with more energy, but the attacking goes completely sour for the Mavs and Lamar evens things up at halftime. Tied 1-1.

2:51 PM: Very impressed with UTA's defense. Emily Shearin with five blocks thru three sets, Driscoll with five as well. Offense? Not so much. UTA hits .051 for the third set and now Lamar owns a 2-1 lead. Play at the net has been very good, but Krell (10 kills), Brewer (9) and Holdorff(7 in two sets) proving to be too strong.

3:16 PM: Arlington plays much better in set 4, but can't hold off the Cardinals who advance to day 2 with a 3-1 win. I was very, very impressed with the Mavs' Emily Shearin. Earlier in the week, I argued for McNeese's Nicole Bowden in that she outplaced Shearin throughout the year. But here today, Shearin showed me a great deal. She finishes the match with 17 kills - most for all players and five blocks. Lamar is paced by Brewer with 14 kills...Krell added 12. UTA showed a great deal more spunk here than when they came to Nacogdoches, but ultimately Lamar had too many weapons. Lamar will face Texas State in the first match tomorrow. Next up in about 40 minutes.... SHSU vs. Nicholls in Game 3 of the day.

3:56 PM: The girls just entered the Convo. Syd sporting some serious shades, I must say.

4:54 PM: Nicholls and Sam Houston tied a one set a piece at halftime. As usual, its the Annacarli and nothing else on offense for SHSU. Neither team hitting over .200, but Nicholls playing much more crisp than they did in Nacogdoches. Sam is vulnerable right now... after losing several matches down the stretch. Manieka Golden leading the way for the Colonels with 11 kills and Ferguson with a match high 13 at the break. Danielle Daigle having an awesome day...digging up a bunch of Kolbe and Ferguson attacks. She heads to the locker room with 14 digs in just two sets.

5:30 PM: We may have our first upset of the tournament brewing after Nicholls takes set 3 behind absolutely ON FIRE Manieka Golden. Nicholls now leads Sam Houston 2-1. Golden has 16 kills against only three errors. Freshman Jennifer Brandt is in to double figures as well with 11 kills. Daigle up to 20 digs. Ferguson has 19 kills for SHSU. Nicholls hit a whopping .325 in the third set. They look like a totally different team than the one that showed up a week ago in Nacogdoches.

6:01 PM: Nicholls completes the upset! #2 Seed SHSU sent packing to Huntsville. What a performance by Golden for Nicholls: 21 kills, 4 errrors, .405 attack percentage. When push came to shove, the Annacarli wasn't enough as some people have hinted at during the year. Nicholls was a force from the get go tonight. Both liberos, Daigle for Nicholls and Hawkins for SHSU had 26 digs. A very impressive performance from Chris Laird's group tonight. That must be a glimpse of the team that beat us 3-2 in Louisiana earlier in the year.

OK, that's all for today...time for you to switch over to Ben and I will be in the chat room in approximately 15-20 minutes. Winner of SFA/UTSA will play Nicholls State tomorrow at 4:00. We'll have a Day 2 commentary running during the first match tomorrow featuring Texas State and Lamar.

GO SFA! Axe' Em 'Jacks!