No. 21 St. Louis Cruises in Opening Game of NCAA Tournament
Dec. 4, 2008
By Kristan McCullum, UK Media Relations
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Led by Bridget Fonke, Megan Boken and Sammi McCloud the No. 21 Saint Louis Billikens defeated the Alabama A&M Bulldogs in three straight sets on Thursday evening in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Memorial Coliseum, hosted by University of Kentucky.
The 13th-seeded Billikens will advance to the second round match, facing the winner of No. 20 Kentucky and No. 19 Michigan, Friday at 7 p.m. in Memorial Coliseum.
Saint Louis (29-4) dominated all three sets, finishing with a total of 46 kills and a hitting percentage of .347. The Billikens out-blocked A&M three to two, keeping them to just a .039 percentage. Saint Louis controlled the match, outscoring The Lady Bulldogs 25-10 in the first set, 25-15 in the second and 25-11 in the final set. The three-set win marks Saint Louis' first victory in two appearances in the NCAA tournament as a representative of the Atlantic 10 Conference.
"I have been real proud of our offense all year," Saint Louis head coach Anne Kordes said. "I thought we did a fantastic job tonight. The libero, Whitney Behrens, did a good job controlling the defense and passing which allowed us to get all our hitters involved in the offense."
Saint Louis was led by Fonke, who finished with a match-high 16 kills, and Boken, who added 11 kills to the team's 46. McCloud contributed a team-best 15 digs, followed by Boken's eight.
"We just came out there and had a plan," McCloud said. "We wanted to execute it, and we did it in the best fashion we possibly could. I think it went pretty well."
Karensa Beckford led A&M with six kills, followed by Madinah Abdullah, who tallied three. Alabama A&M (12-15) head coach Nedra Brown led the Lady Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament in her second season, having appeared in eight of the last nine NCAA tournaments as a representative of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).
"First off, I would like to say that it is a pleasure being here," Brown said. "Unfortunately, we didn't get the outcome that we wanted. We wanted to at least break through in the tournament and win a set. That was our goal coming into the tournament, but unfortunately we didn't do that. I think that the young ladies played okay, but I do think that we could have played harder and had a better run at it. We just have to go back and start over and hopefully we will be better next year."
The winner of the Lexington pod will move on to compete in the Seattle Regional in Seattle, Wash. on Dec. 12-13.