Ole Miss volleyball played three games this past weekend at the Iowa State Challenge in Ames, Iowa. The team came away with wins over Virginia and Oregon State but fell to No. 21 Iowa State.
In the first of three games, the Rebels defeated Virginia 3-1 (20-25, 25-20, 25-23, 31-29). Junior Emily Stroup, whose 474 kills last year broke the school record, led the team with 21 kills, including three aces, against Virginia. Her strong performance also included three blocks and 11 digs.
Sophomore Lauren Bars also performed well against Virginia, leading the team with 25 assists while also recording two digs and one block. Freshman Aubrey Sultemeier had six blocks, 11 kills and one dig.
In the fourth set, Caroline Adams recorded her thousandth career dig, becoming the seventh player in Ole Miss history to hit that mark. The senior from Lafayette, Louisiana, had a game-high 24 digs and also recorded one assist.
— Ole Miss Volleyball (@OleMissVB) August 24, 2018
In the second game, versus No. 21 Iowa State, the Rebels fell 3-0 (21-25, 11-25, 19-25) and struggled to defend against the Cyclones’ balanced offense. Stroup led the team with 12 kills and 12 digs but also committed seven attack errors. Facing a taller, stronger Iowa State front line, the Rebels managed only four blocks in the game.
“Looking at stats, we didn’t play our best,” head coach Steven McRoberts said. “But we learned a lot about our team.”
The Rebels came away victorious in their final game against Oregon State on Saturday, winning 3-2 (23-25, 27-25, 25-20, 27-29, 15-12) in a thrilling finish to the weekend.
Stroup put in a game-high 21 kills and recorded 13 digs. Junior Jordan Fate recorded a game-high 30 assists and contributed 11 digs and one kill. Bars recorded 27 assists, six blocks, four digs, and one kill. Sultemeier led the team with eight blocks and had six kills and one dig. Adams had her best game of the season to date, recording 28 digs and one ace.
“There were three really good teams at Iowa State,” McRoberts said. “I think this will go a long way to help our RPI.”
Coaches were pleased with the team’s performance over the weekend after the two important wins.
“I think we had a great weekend. With a few new starters, the team was solid in the three matches, playing pretty well under pressure,” coach Ronaldo Pacheco said. “The players that came from the bench did pretty well. I am very excited for this weekend — playing at our home floor.”
The Rebels look to improve on their strong start over the weekend when they host the Rebel Invitational at the Gillom Center. The Rebels play Samford at 10 a.m. and Ohio State at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Arkansas-Little Rock at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Southern Miss at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.