Lady Demons enter home stretch with Southeastern
NATCHITOCHES — With just two weeks remaining in the regular season, Northwestern State is hoping to find a late push with four home games in the final five totals of the season.
The literal and figurative home stretch begins Tuesday as the Lady Demons (13-11, 6-7) host Southeastern at 6:30 p.m. at Prather Coliseum. The game can be watched at www.nsudemons.com/watch or on the NSU Athletics mobile app, free to download from the Apple or Google stores. There is no admission fee to a home volleyball contest at NSU.
NSU had a tough final road trip to Texas this past weekend with back-to-back losses to HCU and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The main culprit for this difficult journey was the inability to execute a regular attack which created good opportunities for the long list of demon attackers.
With two of the lowest kill and attack percentages of the conference season over the past two games for the Demons, a homecoming and extended stay could be just what the doctor ordered.
The Five Killing Bosses of NSU – Breanna Burrel, Symone Wesley, Reaghan Thompson, Jordanian bet and Addison McDermott – have all shown they have the ability to score in clusters this season. Burrell continues to lead the pack with 263 kills and scoring 3.03 points per set, while Thompson remains one of the most efficient forwards in the conference with a .328 hit percentage.
“We have the athletes and the players to be able to score, but we’re just not scoring right now,” the head coach said. Sean Kiracofe said. “We’ve talked a lot this season about improving our serving-receiving pass and they’ve done the work to improve, especially from a consistency perspective over the last six to eight games. They’ve done their job, but now it’s about being more consistent with our attack in terms of where our sets go, and then our attackers have to be able to do something with the ball.”
The NSU offense will face a Southeast team (19-6, 9-4) that has been among the league leaders on offense all season, but ranks near the bottom in blocks per set, offering demons the opportunity to find their offensive mojo.
As in the first meeting on September 15, the Lions will bring their full arsenal into the game after a handful of players have been out of time over the past two weeks.
Offensive leader Kailin Newsome continues to be the Lions’ go-to option on the road, entering the game averaging 4.53 kills per set and the only player in the league to average over 4.00 in conference games. Southeastern has two of the top four per-set leaders in the league with Newsome and Cicily Hidalgo.
They accounted for nearly half of the Lions’ first-meeting wins this year.
“The season is a rollercoaster for everyone in terms of ups and downs in terms of execution or injuries for different players,” Kiracofe said. “Apparently we were the ones to catch the other team when they are full, which will be on Tuesday. They looked good when we saw them earlier this year. We were definitely still a very young group and needed to improve in some areas.”
One of those areas of improvement since the first meeting has been the serve-receive pass and serve-receipt in general. Only three times in the last eight games has NSU allowed more than six aces in a game against their opponent.
“I know that if we continue to follow the path we’ve come in the last four to six games receiving service, we’re going to give ourselves chances to be able to compete with anyone,” Kiracofe said. “Now it’s just about getting the attack going again.”