BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — For the first time since the Vette City Classic’s initial season in 2018, the Shawnee State University volleyball team collected at least three wins in its four contests in the two-day event.
Shawnee State straight-setted both Missouri Valley College and Loyola, La. on Friday evening in 3-0 victories — 25-19, 26-24, 26-24 and 25-17, 25-20, 25-19 respectively — before taking home a four-set triumph over Union, Ky. (25-21, 22-25, 26-24, 25-13) and dropping a five-set thriller to Point, Ga. (24-26, 25-13, 24-26, 25-20, 11-15) on Saturday afternoon.
The successful venture to Bowling Green, Ky.’s Ephram White Park for the two-day event, which gives each team who plays in the Vette City Classic four games, continues a successful start to Devan Scarberry’s head coaching career.
Following an 11-12 season where SSU already improved by three games in the win column despite playing in 12 less matches, the 3-1 weekend — and start to the 2021 season — gives Scarberry a 14-13 record as a head coach.
Boggs showcases potential
in strong outings
Receiving a great deal of playing time on the front line in her first career matches at Shawnee State, two-sport athlete Emily Boggs proved to be more than up for the challenge.
Boggs — who will also be swimming at SSU — performed in an excellent manner all weekend long, notching 40 kills in four matches to average exactly 10 kills per match in the 3-1 weekend for the Bears.
Boggs began her SSU career with a bang, notching seven kills without an attack error in nine attempts to lead the Bears to the straight-set victory over Missouri Valley College, and teamed with fellow freshman Haidyn Wamsley to nab 11 kills off the bench in SSU’s straight-set victory over Loyola (La.)
Following seven kills in another victory over Union (Ky.), 3-1, Boggs then posted her best performance of the weekend — blasting 14 kills in 23 attack attempts for a strong .565 attack percentage in the five-set loss to Point (Ga.)
In posting these numbers, Boggs notched 40 kills to just 12 attack errors on 84 attempts — en route to posting an outstanding .333 attack percentage.
building on fantastic career
While Boggs’ numbers were certainly noteworthy, and critical to Shawnee State’s 3-1 start to the 2021 season, NAIA All-American Macie Rhoads certainly put together her own impressive efforts at the Vette City Classic.
Rhoads, who posted a team-high 51 kills over the two-day event, continued to showcase her strong volleyball IQ at all stops — while putting together the vintage Macie Rhoads performances that SSU followers have come to know.
In Friday’s contests, Rhoads immediately got out to a strong start, posting 13 kills and 11 digs while notching a .241 attack percentage in a double-double effort to lead SSU over Missouri Valley College.
The 5-9 outside hitter then posted five kills in a well-balanced attack, leading SSU to a straight-set win over Loyola (La.) as one of six players who posted five or more kills in the outing — all while leading the Bears with 12 digs in the match.
However, as big as her efforts were on Friday, Rhoads’ performances on Saturday were arguably just as important, if not even more so, in helping Shawnee State cap off a successful weekend.
In a match where Shawnee State had to grind out its 3-1 victory over Union, Rhoads was arguably the catalyst, leading SSU with 18 kills, finishing second among SSU hands with 22 digs, and hitting .196 — over seven-hundreths of a percentage point higher than the entire team as a whole — to allow the Bears to claim the win.
She then finished off the weekend with 15 kills and nine digs against Point, hitting .208 and leading Shawnee State in total kills for the third time in four matches.
With her 51 kills, Rhoads now has exactly 1,200 kills and 1,101 digs for her career.
In the latter category, Rhoads leapfrogged Rhyanna Day and Adair Piguet into the top-10, and now sits ninth for her career in digs — in addition to holding her fourth-place status in career kills.
providing defensive punch
Providing Shawnee State with a consistent defensive presence throughout the 2020 season, Emilee Cochran got her 2021 campaign off to an excellent start, notching team-highs in digs in three of the four matches that the Bears played in during the weekend.
On Saturday especially, Cochran was huge in Shawnee State’s production throughout the day, combining for 57 digs in matches against Union and Point.
The Northern Ohio native ultimately finished with 85 digs over the four contests, putting Cochran at 604 dives for her career — and moving the defensive specialist into 25th place all-time in school history in that category.
Wamsley, Shelby showcase length,
athleticism on front line
Along with Boggs, fellow freshman newcomer Wamsley had an outstanding debut at the Vette City Classic, posting 37 kills in the four matches — and averaging over nine kills per match.
In all four matches, Wamsley provided a significant punch, combining for 13 kills while amassing just four attack errors in 26 attempts to hit .346 in Friday’s affairs.
With a heavier workload on Saturday, Wamsley continued to push forward, notching a two-day best 15 kills against Union — while only trailing Rhoads in that category.
She finished off her strong debut with nine kills against Point.
Through four games, Wamsley’s 37 kills to 18 attack errors on 86 attempts gave the freshman a very solid .220 attack percentage.
As for Shelby, the veteran presence played like one throughout the two-day event, proving to be lethal not only on the attack but — defensively — at the net as well.
For the weekend, Shelby finished with an astronomical 10.5 total blocks, including five solo and 11 assisted (5.5 additional to the solo count), all while putting together four excellent attack efforts in a row — ultimately notching an outstanding 25 kills to just five attack errors in 51 attempts for an otherwordly .392 attack percentage.
Shelby was especially strong in Saturday’s contests, posting 17 kills on 29 attack attempts while only committing three errors.
Along with the aforementioned, Maria Kolinoff (63 assists, 22 digs in Saturday’s efforts) and Bethany Colling (30 kills in four matches) were impressive, as was Darian Fiesler, who notched 29 digs in Saturday’s contests to help Cochran defensively.
As a whole, the 10 Mid-South Conference teams that represented the MSC in this Vette City Classic went a combined 25-15.
Every team in the conference went .500 or better against its competition with the exception of Pikeville.
Shawnee State (3-1) will be back in action on Tuesday, Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. — when the Bears host Ohio Christian in a nonconference matchup.
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