IUK volley drops NAIA pool opener

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — No. 5-ranked Southern Oregon University beat IU Kokomo in the teams’ opening match of pool play at the NAIA Volleyball National Championship on Tuesday. SOU beat IUK 21-25, 25-22, 25-15, 25-15.

Both teams return to Pool E action today and Thursday. The top two teams from each pool advance to the round of 16.

Macee Rudy led IUK’s defense with 17 digs and added a pair of assists and three kills. Kendal Williams had 43 assists, 10 digs and four kills. Kristi Elson had nine digs. Lizzy Sokeland had a dozen kills and hit an outstanding .500 on attacks. Erinn Adam added 11 kills.

As a team, the Cougars struggled to floor kills, hitting just .119 with 33 attack errors while SOU hit .226 and had just 19 errors. SOU also had 13 blocks to IUK’s five.

“I’m really proud of how well we came out and competed against the No. 5 team in the country, especially the first two sets. Even though we fell short, this was the first time for our program to win a set at the [national] site, which shows the growth our program has made,” IUK coach Heather Hayes said.

“As the match went on, we lost focus on some of the smaller details resulting in less competitiveness in the last two sets. I think we learned that if we can work on consistent focus, we can play with and be considered one of the top teams in the country. I’m very proud of how strong we came out and played.”

The Cougars (27-12) are back in action today with a 1 p.m. match against No. 12 Central Methodist. On Thursday IUK closes pool action with an 11 a.m. match against Bellevue. Central Methodist beat Bellevue in five sets on Tuesday.

IUK women’s hoops beats Oakland City

The IU Kokomo women’s basketball team blasted NCAA Division II Oakland City 91-62 Tuesday night at Cougar Gym.

The Cougars put five players in double figures: starters Jada Anderson (16 points), Tia Chambers (14), Sierra Peete (13) and Kokomo’s Q Merriweather (10); and reserve Vanessa Mullins (12). Chambers snagged eight rebounds, Mullins seven and Merriweather six. Peete had five assists.

IUK (6-4) is next in action on Saturday at River States Conference rival Midway University.

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