The Lady Flames soundly defeated Olivet Nazarene University 3-0 (25-12, 25-17, 25-12) in the second day of play of the annual Lee Invitational. The win was the 700th for Hudson, who is in her 22 year of coaching volleyball at Lee.
The 700-228 mark gives the Lady Flames’ leader a winning percentage of over 75 percent. She ranks fifth among the winningest active coaches in the NAIA. Among those top five, Hudson has coached the least number of seasons. Paul Swanson (Mt. Vernon, Ohio) is in his 30th year and has posted 978 victories. Only Madonna’s Jerry Abraham has a higher winning percentage (.792).
The Lady Flames, ranked No. 3 in the preseason NAIA poll, came roaring back from an upset loss to Indiana Wesleyan on Friday afternoon, to defeat Xavier (La.) for win number 699 and then powered past Olivet in the third match of their four scheduled events during the Invitational.
Again it was the booming net play that set the tone for the 2-1 Lady Flames. As a team Lee recorded a .402 hitting percentage. Marija Zelenovic blasted away with 10 kills and a .563 attack mark. Irene Ojukwu also had 10 slams and a .304 hitting percentage. Paula Martins put down eight kills and was tops for the match with a .636 hitting average. Martins also countered with three service aces.
Camil Martinez was the assist leader with 36. Libby Peigen garnered 12 digs, while Martinez and Ojukwu chipped in with nine apiece. Zelenovic (4) and Nicole Sumida (3) helped dominate play in the blocking department.
LEE 3, LINDSEY WILSON 0
Lee (3-1) cooled off somewhat in the hitting department (.321) but Zelenovic (14 kills) and Ojukwu (10 kills) still gave the visiting and 20th-ranked Blue Raiders more than they could handle in the 25-22, 25-15, 25-22 victory. Zelenovic and Ojukwu also had eight digs apiece. Ojukwu rounded out a big day with three blocks.
Martins followed with seven kills and three blocks. Martinez dished off 36 assists and came up with seven digs. Peigen tallied 12 digs and Kayln Helton accounted for five slams and a pair of blocks.
Lindsey Wilson was paced by Kailey Moorhead and Sarah Anderson, both picked up seven kills. Andrea Taylor was the assist leader with 21, while Kristi Hager posted 13 digs.
The Lady Flames will dig deeper into one of the NAIA’s toughest volleyball schedules next week. Hudson takes her club to California to challenge Westmont, Concordia, Vanguard and Biola in the Asics/Wyndam Hotel Labor Day Classic.
LEE 3, XAVIER (La.) 0
Paced by excellent work at the net by Irene Ojukwu, Marija Zelenovic and Nicole Sumida, the Lady Flames bounced back from a 3-2 loss to Indiana Wesleyan and coasted past Xavier University (La.) 3-0 in the final match of Friday's Lee Invitational.
As a team, the Lady Flames had a blistering .506 hitting percentage, while Ojukwu was credited with 16 kills and a .667 percentage. Zelenovic followed with 13 kills and a .524 mark and freshman Sumida joined the fun with nine kills (.636).
A share of the credit in the 25-14, 25-16, 25-16 victory must go to setters Paula Martins (21 assists) and Becky Bourne (21 assists). Martins also added five kills. Lauren Williams countered with three aces in limited playing time, while Zelenovic added six digs.
Taylor Reuther and Chinedu Echebelem notched six kills apiece for the losers.
The Lady Flames will return to action on Saturday at 11 a.m. and will face Olivet Nazarene (Ill.). They will close out the two-day event later in the day (5 p.m.) when they battle 20th-ranked Lindsey Wilson College.
IND. WESLEYAN 3, LEE 2
Indiana Wesleyan came battling back from a 2-1 deficit to upset the host and third-ranked Lady Flames 3-2 in the first day of play in the annual Lee University Volleyball Invitational.
It was the second win of the day for the Wildcats who had whipped Olivet Nazarene 3-1 earlier on Friday. The Lady Flames will get an opportunity to rebound later this evening when they will be pitted against Xavier (New Orleans). Xavier lost a 3-0 match to Lindsey Wilson earlier.
The Wildcat got out of the gate quickly and pinned a 25-22 win over the Lady Flames in the first set. Lee fought back and appeared ready to take control after winning the next two sets 25-21, 25-17. However, the visitors were not about to back away and evened the match with a 25-17 decision.
The final set rocked back and forth before IWU tallied the final three points and claimed the 15-13 set and claimed the win. The Wildcats will have a few hours to relax and celebrate the upset. They will return to Invitation play on Saturday and will test Union College (Ky.) and talented Lindsey Wilson College.
The Lady Flames were paced by junior middle blocker Irene Ojukwu who had 20 kills and 16 digs. Marija Zelenovic followed closely with 16 slams and nine digs. Libby Peigen came away with 20 digs and Sarah Davis added 11.
Newcomer Camil Martinez made her presence felt with 52 assists, six kills and five blocks. Another new member of the Lee club, Paula Martins, joined in with seven kills and six blocks.
Indiana Wesleyan countered with four players in double-figure kills. Alijah Mulitauppele paved the way with 17 blasts. Next came Rae Brandes with 12, while Cheyenne Godinez registered 11 and Kristine Egebrecht totaled 10.
Rebecca Brandes also chipped in with 20 digs and Rae Brandes did her part with 17. Yui Iwase played a key role for the winners with 49 assists and 12 digs.