St. Andrews News
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Lindsey Wagner
Volleyball - Sun, Sep. 3, 2017 by Troy Baranik

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The St. Andrews University women's volleyball team held on to outlast NAIA non-conference foe Keiser University (Fla.) in five sets inside Keiser's home gym Saturday evening. The Knights also pushed past AAC rival Truett McConnell Univ. (Ga.) in a non-conference match earlier Saturday in four sets to improve to 2-2 on the young season.

SAU, unfortunately, faced two very strong NAIA teams on Friday on day one of the tournament falling in 3 games to Life University (Ga.) and in four games to Kansas Wesleyan.

SAU 3, Keiser 2

SAU stormed back to steal the first game from the Seahawks 28-26 after trailing for the majority of it. However, Keiser showed their strength by downing the Knights in game two 25-13 before the Lady Knights came back to take a tight third set 25-22. After leading late in the fourth set 20-16, Keiser rallied back to steal that game 26-24 and send it to a decisive fifth set. 

The Knights then took command in the final set after leading 8-7 to go on a 7-2 run to take it 15-9 and stun the Seahawks (3-9).

Senior middle blocker Kiah Cheatham (SR/Kalamazoo, MI) led the Knights with 17 kills and only 5 errors while hitting .308 with 3 digs and four blocks. Cheatham was also named to the All-Tournament team as well. Cheatham now has 40 kills on the season on just 11 errors (.274).

Fellow senior right side hitter Lindsey Wagner (SR/Austin, TX) also played very well recording 11 kills to hit .250 with a block while senior RS Andrea Navarro (SR/Salinas, CA) also had 11 kills and hit .214 with three blocks. Four Lady Knights recorded double-digit kills on the afternoon with the fourth being senior outside hitter Tessa Smith (SR/Jacksonville, FL), who had 12 kills and 26 digs for a massive double-double along with 4 assists.

Sophomore setter Shalia Powell (SO/Dayton, NV) recorded her second double-double of the season leading the team with 30 assists and 16 digs while fellow sophomore setter Brooke Thomas (SO/Brunswick, GA) had 20 assists. Senior Libero Austin Payne (SR/Kingsport, TN) led the Knights with an impressive 23 digs.

SAU 3, Truett 1

In SAU's third game of the weekend, they faced their conference rival in Truett McConnell (0-4) and came away with a solid four-set win. SAU easily took the first set 25-18 and squeaked out the second 25-22 before blowing an eight-point lead in the third and falling 28-26. But the Knights finally put away the Bears in the fourth 25-17.

SAU was led by Smith's team-best 15 kills along with her 7 digs and 4 assists and ace while Wagner also recorded double-digit kills with 11 while hitting .381 with two blocks. Cheatham then had 6 kills and no errors with two aces, and four blocks while Navarro added 7 kills and two blocks. Powell also had a big game as the setter with 21 assists and 19 digs with an ace and kill while Payne led the team with 20 digs overall.

It was the first of 3 meetings this season between the schools. The Knights will play at Truett McConnell (Ga.) again on September 19 and at home October 12.

KWU 3, SAU 1

In the Knights' second match of the tournament, they faced off with NAIA foe Kansas Wesleyan, but KWU (4-2) was too much for SAU as they totaled 60 kills and hit .245 in winning 25-15, 25-21, 25-27, and 25-18.

Cheatham led again with 13 kills and six digs while Smith added 12 kills and 15 digs for another double-double. Wagner also had another game in double-digit kills with 10 while Payne contributed 21 digs as the libero. Powell and Thomas combined for 36 assists setting and 13 digs as well. Freshman DS Karina Lozada (FR/Bayamon, Puerto Rico) also played well with 9 digs and four assists.

Life 3, SAU 0

SAU's first match of the weekend, however, did not go so well as they fell in three sets to NAIA foe Life University (10-2) 25-17, 25-23, and 25-20. Life hit .162 with 40 kills while holding SAU to just 23 kills.

The Knights were led by Smith's 12 kills and while hitting .242 with 9 digs. Lozada led with 12 digs as well as the libero. Middle blockers Cheatham and Wagner then combined for 7 kills, 6 digs, and 4 blocks.

After the weekend, Smith currently leads the team in kills with 51 and is second in digs with 57 while Payne leads in digs with 69 and Aces with 5.

St. Andrews will now begin their week-long homestand by hosting AAC rival Reinhardt University (Ga.) (4-1) on Tuesday at 6:00 PM.

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