Friday, September 7 • Sugar Loaf Classic


Final Score: Luther 3, SMU 1
(30-21, 14-30, 30-24, 30-28)

Box ScoreComplete Classic Results

The Highlights:

Rhonda Thibault, SMU: 16 kills
Tracy Koertgen, SMU: 13 kills
Melissa Cowan, SMU: 52 assists

Friday, September 7 • Sugar Loaf Classic


Final Score: Lakeland 3, SMU 2
(30-25, 19-30, 35-33, 12-30, 15-12)

Box ScoreComplete Classic Results

The Highlights:
Tracy Koertgen, SMU: 18 kills
Leslie Nicholls, SMU: 16 kills
Kirsten Rouzer, SMU: 14 kills
Melissa Cowan, SMU: 57 assists

UP NEXT: SMU at Sugar Loaf Classic

Saturday, September 8
Cardinals still searching for first win as they drop two in Sugar Loaf Classic

WINONA, Minn. — It wasn't exactly what Saint Mary's University volleyball coach Mike Lester was hoping for.

Coming off a well-played, 3-2 loss to UW-La Crosse in their season-opener last Wednesday, Lester was hoping his Cardinals would be able to rebound and put together a pair of wins in the opening round of the SMU Sugar Loaf Classic on Friday.

Luther and Lakeland, however, had other ideas.

Luther knocked off the Cardinals 3-1 in the teams' opening-round game, and Lakeland followed that up with a 3-2 victory in the nightcap.

"I'm disappointed and the ladies are disappointed," admitted Lester. "We didn't play that poorly, but we just couldn't come up with the key plays when we needed them.

In the first match against Luther, the Cardinals started slow, losing the opening game 30-21, before rebounding with a convincing 30-14 victory in Game 2. From there, however, it was all downhill as SMU dropped decisions of 30-24 and 30-28.

Rhonda Thibault (Faribault, Minn.) finished with a team-high 16 kills, while Tracy Koertgen (Crystal Lake, Ill.) chipped in 13. Melissa Cowan (Algonquin, Ill.) dished out 52 set assists and teamed with Leslie Nicholls (Hastings, Minn.) to serve all six of SMU's service aces (three each).

Against Lakeland, Koertgen was the team's kill leader with 18, while Nicholls chipped in 16 and Kirstan Rouzer (Comstock, Wis.) tallied 14. Cowan was again solid as the team's setter, picking up 57 assists.

"(The Lakeland match) was one that we let slip through our fingers," admitted Lester, whose team dropped the first game 30-25, then rallied for a 30-19 win in Game 2, only to go 1-1 in Games 3 and 4 (losing 35-33 and winning 30-12) to force a decisive fifth game, which Lakeland won 15-12. "I told the team after the match that they should sit back and think about (this loss) — for about an hour. After that, we've got to turn on focus to (Saturday's matches against Concordia-Wisconsin and UW-Oshkosh).

"It's frustrating (starting out the season 0-3), but we're not about to throw in the towel," Lester said. "We'll be all right — we just need to keep striving to improve with every match."

And hopefully pick up a win or two along the way.