DES MOINES, Iowa – While most HU students were heading home for fall break on Oct. 14, the women’s volleyball team was traveling to Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa. The Foresters played in a two-day tournament, facing four tough opponents over the weekend.
Despite coming up empty handed, HU had the opportunity to play several top-25 opponents.
"This whole weekend was a great opportunity for us to not only get better, but by playing four ranked opponents, we have a better idea of where we stack up nationally," said Coach Kyle Shondell.
Libero Kate Cobb shone behind the ten-foot line over the weekend, tallying 79 digs, moving her into third place in HU's all-time career digs list.
"Kate's career has been impressive, but the fun thing about it is that her best volleyball is ahead of her,” Shondell said.
Play began on Friday against RV Ottawa University (20-7, 14-0), who knocked off HU in three tight sets, 23-25, 19-25, 20-25.
Paige Eakright led the Foresters with 9 kills, while senior Audrey Mallers tallied 7. Cobb contributed 20 digs in the loss.
The Foresters had another chance that afternoon to compete at a high level against #19 Jamestown University (17-8, 7-1). Looking past the three-set loss, Shondell noticed improvement in his team.
"We were considerably better defensively in the Jamestown match than we were with Ottawa," he said.
Shondell credited Mallers for “stepping up” to help he team keep it close once again, 22-25, 24-26, 19-25. She guided the Forester offense with 11 kills, while Josie Beaver added eight.
Cobb continued to lead the defensive efforts with 17 digs, while freshman Callie Collins collected two solo blocks and five blocking assists.
On Saturday, the Foresters faced two more ranked opponents in host #9 Grand View and #25 Peru State University.
Grand View proved too much for HU, 20-25, 23-25, 17-25, whose offensive attack was balanced in the match. Beaver and Ashli Drewes contributed 6 and 5 kills, respectively.
The Foresters took the first set, 27-25, in their match against Peru State before dropping the next three, 14-25, 17-25, 18-25.
Cobb finished with an impressive 30 digs, while Danielle Gurwell aided on defense with two solo blocks and a blocking assist.
“We were strong again defensively,” Shondell said. “That has and will continue to be our objective, and we followed through on that this weekend."
On offense, Drewes recorded eight kills, while Gurwell and Tailor Schultheis added six apiece.
The Foresters will host conference foe Mount Vernon Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m.
The Huntington University Foresters compete in 17 intercollegiate sports for men and women. In the past decade, Huntington has produced 38 NAIA All-America honors and 254 All-America Scholar Athlete honors. Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S. News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest.