CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO. (WFIE) - Melanie Feliciano had 16 kills while Alondra Vazquez finished with nine in the finale of the Redhawks Invitational where host Southeast Missouri State defeated the University of Evansville volleyball team by a 3-0 final on Saturday afternoon.
Evansville (1-2) gave the Redhawks (3-0) everything it had, but SEMO was able to fend off the challenges. Feliciano’s kill tally led all players. Rachel Tam posted seven and Chloe Bontrager added four. Allana McInnis dished out 29 assists while Gabriela Macedo was stellar defensively, finishing with 24 digs. McInnis had ten.
Southeast Missouri State grabbed an early 9-3 lead in the opening game. With the score tied at 2-2, the Redhawks scored four in a row to extend the lead. Evansville responded with three in a row with Tam and Feliciano each recording a kill, but SEMO pushed its edge to as many as nine points before taking a 25-17 decision.
UE managed a much better start in the second contest, taking a 3-2 lead on an ace from Allana McInnis. The Aces continued to pace the Redhawks, going up 9-7 on an Alondra Vazquez kill. SEMO made its run, posting five straight with the score tied at 12-12, but Evansville responded in a big way, reeling off the next six. Vazquez and Tam each had a kill in the rally while McInnis provided the efficient serving. SEMO wrestled away a 23-21 lead, but UE continued its fight. A Kate Tsironis kill helped them tie the score at 23-23. UE kept up the battle, but Southeast Missouri State posted the final two points to pick up a 27-25 win and a 2-0 match lead.
Gabriela Macedo posted an ace to begin the third stanza, but the Redhawks took control from there, taking a 12-5 lead before clinching the match on the heels of a 25-19 decision. SEMO led by as many as 11 points at 20-9, but the Aces staged a rally. Cecilia Thon registered an ace and UE was able to get within four at 22-18, but SEMO regrouped to win the match.
Home action begins next week for the Aces as they host the Dunn Hospitality Tournament. Purdue Fort Wayne will be the first opponent on Friday at 6 p.m. On Saturday, Evansville welcomes Middle Tennessee State for a 12:30 p.m. contest before facing Eastern Illinois at 6 p.m. inside Meeks Family Fieldhouse.