Lincoln College Women's volleyballs takes first at Hampton Inn Classic

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[October 25, 2016]   Over the weekend, the Lincoln College Volleyball team hosted the 2017 Hampton Inn Classic. LC went into this event without one of their top contributors, as sophomore outside hitter Kenzie Cooper was sidelined with a sprained ankle. Lincoln was able to overcome the absence of Cooper to go a perfect 4-0 and take first place at the event.

The Lady Lynx began play on Friday with a five-set win over Southeastern Iowa CC. LC took the opening set 25-19, but SCC bounced back to win set two 25-23.

Lincoln dominated set three 25-9 in part due to the strong middle play of freshman Elysa Smith who racked up four kills and two blocks in the set and setter Abbi Buelow who recorded 12 of the 42 set assists she would dish out in the match.

Elysa Smith

The Lady Lynx carried the momentum into set four and were in control early on until freshman middle hitter Cassidy Sanneman left the game with an ankle injury. Lincoln had to play players out of position to account for the loss of Sanneman and Southeastern took advantage of the situation to win set four 25-22. This set up a deciding set to 15.

With right side hitter Mattie Giese filling in at middle for the injured Sanneman, Lincoln regrouped and led the entire way for a 15-10 win to end the match.

Kaylyn Hoffert

In the second match for Lincoln on Friday, the team faced Frontier CC from Fairfield, IL. Lincoln was energized by the return of Cassidy Sanneman to the lineup and cruised to an easy three set victory 25-11, 25-21, 25-10. Matie Geise and Kaylyn Hoffert were extremely effective hitting at the pins for Lincoln. Giese led the team with nine kills in the match while Hoffert tallied seven kills. Senior DS Erin Rankin led the team in service points with 14.

Mikayla Siebert

On Saturday, Lincoln would face Highland CC first then College of DuPage (COD). Lincoln came out strong against Highland and took set one 25-12. The Lady Lynx played a nearly perfect first set that saw freshman setter Abbi Buelow connect with multiple hitters including seven kills from freshman outside hitter Mikayla Siebert. Siebert, who was filling in for the injured Kenzie Cooper, finished the match with a team-high ten kills and a block.

Melanie Murray (right)

Set two also went to LC by a score of 25-20. Highland showed more life in set two, but three blocks from middle hitter Cassidy Sanneman and seven digs from libero Melanie Murray were enough to keep Highland from gaining any momentum. Murray would finish with a team-high 19 digs in the match.

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Highland was able to score early and often in set three to put Lincoln in the hole 2-7, and aggressive serving by HCC kept the Lady Lynx from being able to mount a comeback. Highland would win the set 25-20 to extend the match.

In set four, LC regrouped and regained control of their passing game to lead all the way to a 25-18 victory. Sophomore DS Brighton Robbins scored five service points in the set to help her team stay on top.

The final match of the event for Lincoln was against the College of DuPage. COD had won all three of their previous matches on the weekend, so the outcome would determine the winner of the event.

Lincoln took command early in set one by jumping out to a comfortable eight-point lead. Freshman Kaylyn Hoffert was dynamite behind the service line scoring six of her team-high eleven service points in the set, three on aces. LC would cruise to a 25-14 set win.

Set two was again controlled by Lincoln as the team led all the way to a 25-18 win.

COD was not done though, as they came out strong in set three. DuPage hit the ball extremely well and played enough defense to frustrate Lincoln's hitters and extend rallies. Lincoln would suffer it's worse set loss of the weekend to COD, 25-15.

Set four appeared to be more of the same as DuPage built a 15-10 advantage. That was when Lincoln began to turn things around. After a side out on a kill by Mattie Giese, sophomore middle hitter Cassidy Sanneman went behind the service line and ran off five points in a row, two on aces, to put LC up 16-15. After the run, two spectacular back row kills from senior DS Erin Rankin would continue to help LC regain their confidence and hold on to win the set 25-22.

The four wins on the weekend pushed Lincoln's overall record to 21-11. The 21 wins equal the team's win total from 2015 with two matches left to play in the regular season.

Lincoln will travel to Carl Sandburg Wednesday evening then on Thursday host their final home match of the year at 6:00 p.m. against Illinois Valley CC.

Stat Totals

Kaylyn Hoffert 37 kills, 23 points
Abbi Buelow 17 points, 132 set assists
Erin Rankin 48 points, 33 digs
Mattie Giese 36 kills, 8 blocks
Mikayla Siebert 29 kills, 4 blocks
Melanie Murray 53 digs, 33 points
Cassidy Sanneman 18 kills, 10 blocks, 19 points
Elysa Smith 22 kills, 9 blocks
Brighton Robbins 25 digs, 16 points
Erica King 13 digs

LC Coach Mark Tippett: "I was extremely proud of the effort our players put out this weekend. Not having Kenzie Cooper on the floor is a big loss for us since she typically plays all the way around and passes in most serve receive rotations. Mikayla Siebert and Brighton Robbins did an excellent job filling in for her, and our other hitters helped pick up the slack on offense as well.

"We look forward to getting Kenzie back later this week, but it's comforting to know we can adjust to keep our team competitive if we have to. The key to our success this weekend was consistently passing the ball to target. Our setter, Abbi Buelow, did a wonderful job of finding open hitters and spreading the ball around enough to keep our opponents off balance.

"We played some of our best volleyball of the year at this event which is a great way to go into the final week of the regular season."

Photos courtesy of Mark Gordon

[Coach Mark Tippett]

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