Sunday, September 10, 2017

Links to Interviews Done At the SFA Holiday Inn Invitational

This past weekend, SFA won four straight matches to up their nation leading 2017 win streak to 11 contests.  Over the weekend, SFA VolleyBlog was able to get comments from Anyia Williams, Corin Evans, Debbie Humphreys and Most Valuable Player Lexus Cain.  Click on the link below to go to the list of all interviews done by the blog.  The aforementioned four chats are at the top of the list.

SFA is back in action on Tuesday, September 12 and I'll have the call on ESPN3.  Also, next weekend sends the 'Jacks to Houston to participate in the Rice University Invitational and all three of our matches will be carried on radio exclusively here at the blog.  See the sidebar on the right for times.

Click Here For Audio Interviews Done at the 2017 SFA Holiday Inn Invitational

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Stepping Forward: Corin Evans

Haley Coleman has won a tournament MVP and Player of the Week Award.

Makenzee Hanna and Danae Daron have switched spots and each made an all-tournament team.

Shayla Eagleton has thrived as the second MB and has a Defensive Player of the Week award and an all-tournament award under her belt.

Ann Hollas, McKenzie Brewer and Freshman Margaret Dean have all been instrumental in running a 6-2 offense that finds SFA riding a seven game winning streak.

Lexus Cain is, well… doing Lexus Cain stuff, as always.

But, quick.. no cheating:  Who leads Stephen F. Austin Volleyball after eight matches in points per set?

Surely you read the title above and could see that I was driving towards the answer of Sophomore outside hitter Corin Evans.

To me, Evans has been the key cog in what looks like a mid-season form Ladyjack Volleyball machine.  Lest you forget Evans’ contributions since being inserted in the lineup after our year opening loss to Florida Atlantic:

Vs. Central Connecticut State: 10 Kills
Vs. Stetson: 14 Kills, 9 digs, hit .282
Vs. ULM: 11 digs
Vs. USF: 13 Kills, hit .379
Vs. Mississippi State: 13 digs
Vs. Grambling: 9 digs, 4 aces, 3 blocks
Vs. Tulane: 9 Kills, 12 Digs, 4 aces

All of it adds up to a total of 3.39 points per set which lead all wearers of the beloved purple.  Now, to be fair, Haley Coleman is right there with her at 3.37 points per set.  But again, Coleman has numerous accolades already – each of which has been well deserved.  Definitively, Coleman cleaning up her attack errors from 2016 and contributing with more steady passing have been instrumental to our success.  Coleman has three double-doubles already.  From above, you can see Evans has just missed getting that press.

Yep, Evans has flown under the radar concerning media attention and stat accolades and this is my chance to remedy that.  Despite being of few words during interviews, the numbers above do all the talking.  If not offense, it’s defense.  If not defense, it’s offense.  In all seven of SFA wins’ Evans has been central to the cause. I’ve been super impressed with the steps forward Corin has made from her freshman year.  At this point, Evans is the “glue” player on the entire team because everything connects to her.  Playing all six rotations and not viewed as the go-to on offense, Evans has still managed to score at the level of her six rotation mate and contribute on defense in a big way.

When asked last week which side of the ball she preferred to champion in her play, she didn’t hesitate to say defense.  So much focus is made on the offense when running a 6-2.  Obviously, you have the extra hitter and that’s part of the point.  But, our offense depends on those hitters also blocking well to set up the scoring and we’ve done a good job of that.  Then, there’s the requirement in the scheme that two OH’s play all the way around.  Humphreys choice to tag Coleman and Evans for that duty has paid huge dividends.

Think about how rather suddenly, SFA has become particularly deep with hitters.  Everyone knows that Peyton Redmond is about a steady as they come and stands ready to contribute on both sides of the ball when needed.  Then, there’s a potential offensive weapon in sophomore KK Payne who is hopefully just about healthy.  That’s a ton of talent waiting their turn currently on the bench.

No, SFA doesn’t have that 18 kill a night, chart topping, left side hitter that draws all the attention in scouting reports.  But that’s perfectly fine.  Opponents are still dead if they are bled slowly to their demise.  You can’t key on one girl in this offense.  Focus on Coleman?  Hanna and Daron will burn you in the middle and right.  Of course, the opposite is now true with Coleman already having two errorless double figure kill matches and hitting a very impressive .285 overall.  Then, there is Eagleton, who leads the team in attack percentage.  The balance shown on offense this early in the season is as impressive as I remember it in recent seasons.  Of course, the setters and passers get a ton of credit for that as well.

No doubt the ‘Jacks fast start has been due to a combination of stellar performances, most of which have garnered a fair amount of well-deserved attention.  But, when asked recently what my thoughts are on why SFA has been able to be so successful,  I haven’t hesitated to give what I think is really the right answer to our early success…

Monday, September 4, 2017

Links to Interviews Done in Starkville, MS

Last weekend SFA Volleyball ran their road winning streak to seven matches as they won the 2017 Mississippi State Bulldog Invitational in Starkville, MS.  While there, I was able to get comments from Sophomore OH Corin Evans and Head Coach Debbie Humphreys.  Links to their audio interviews are below.

With only one senior on the team this year, Lexus Cain was the only chat forming our traditional early season "Senior Interviews".  Originally, Lexus and I were to have our chat in Nacogdoches, but changes in my schedule and Hurricane Harvey prevented that from happening.  So, I was able to catch up with a gracious Cain after a long day of volleyball in Starkville.  Be sure to check out her insightful comments at the YouTube link below.

Finally, I got a chance to talk with Mississippi State Head Coach David McFatrich in the MSU coaches lounge on the first day of the Bulldog Invitational.  Fatch coached in the Southland for eight years at the University of Central Arkansas.  During that time, he built UCA into a powerhouse and did a lot to up the visibility of the Southland as a whole.  More than that, he was a supporter of this blog in its early days.  I've had many candid volleyball conversations with Fatch through the years and he is one of many coaches or former coaches in this league that has aided in the blog's visibility and credibility as we begin our 9th season of coverage.  So, it was treat to catch up with coach McFatrich.  The link to our conversation is also below:

Chat with Corin Evans After SFA Defeats USF and Grambling

Debbie Humphreys Comments After SFA Sweeps Mississippi State

2017 Senior Interview: Lexus Cain

Conversation with Mississippi State Head Coach David McFatrich

Up next at the blog... later this week we'll take a look at the huge steps forward taken by Corin Evans as she'll be in focus for our next post...

Axe 'Em !