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…