SLU opens 2021 Volleyball Season with pair at StarkVegas Classic

Published 2:53 pm Thursday, August 26, 2021

The Southeastern Louisiana University volleyball program opens its third season under head coach Jeremy White this weekend with a pair of matches at the StarkVegas Classic in Starkville, Mississippi.

Southeastern (11-5 in 2020) opens with a 10 a.m. match Friday in the Newell-Grissom Building against Gonzaga (7-11 in 2020), making the Lady Lions the first Southland Conference program to hit the floor this fall.

SLU wraps up its participation in the StarkVegas Classic at 4 p.m. Saturday with a match against host Mississippi State (5-15 in 2020).

Live stats are available for both matches and Saturday’s contest against Mississippi State will be telecast on the SEC Network+ through the ESPN app. Links for both stats and video can be found on the volleyball schedule page at www.LionSports.net.

The Lady Lions put together a winning season in the spring, the program’s first since 2002, and earned the No. 3 seed in the Southland Conference Tournament. Returning off that squad are seven players, including preseason All-Conference honorees Cripsin Adams and Karlee Wilkerson.

Adams came on strong in the season’s final month, posting double-digit kills against Central Arkansas and first-place SFA. Posting the highest attack percentage by a Lady Lion during the spring, Adams was on fire in the month of March with a .351 attack percentage and averaged 1.81 kills (per set). For the season, the middle blocker from Brookshire, Texas hit .260 while averaging 1.44 kills and 0.73 blocks (per set).

Wilkerson appeared in every set this past spring, recording 1.87 kills (per set) while hitting at a .199 clip. The senior opposite side hitter from Springfield, Louisiana recorded double-digit kills five times and finished with nine in two other matches. She ranked third on the team with 0.42 blocks (per set) and 140.0 total points scored.

Also returning are setters Calli Collins (4.98 assists/set and 13 service aces) and Ariana Hebert (5.24 assists/set and 17 service aces), outside hitters Jolie Hidalgo (1.39 kills/set), Nylissa Snagg (redshirted) and Addison Vidrine (1.32 kills/set), and libero Ansley Tullis (4.24 digs/set and 10 service aces).

Head coach Jeremy White, the reigning Southland Conference Coach of the Year, and associate head coach Gabby Ording brought in a talented class of newcomers to keep the program trending in an upward direction.

Highlighted by outside hitter Cicily Hidalgo, the 2019 Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year, joining the Lady Lions this season are middle blockers India Bennett, Hannah Haerer and Kibi Huggins, outside hitter Hannah Brewer, and setters Gracie Duplechein and Lexi Gonzalez.

In Saturday’s 3-1 exhibition win at ULM, Cicily Hidalgo (17) and Wilkerson (12) both recorded double-digit kills to pace the Lady Lions’ offensive attack. Tullis, a sophomore from Slidell, Louisiana, led all players with 18 digs as SLU held the Warhawks to a .146 attack percentage.

UP NEXT
SLU opens the home portion of its 2021 schedule by hosting the Southeastern Showdown, Sept. 3-4, at the University Center. Joining the Lady Lions in the two-day event are Auburn, Cal State Fullerton and Southern.

Action begins at 10 a.m., Sept. 3, as Auburn and Southern square off. Other matches on day 1 include SLU vs. Cal State Fullerton at 12:30 p.m., Southern vs. Cal State Fullerton at 4:30 p.m. and SLU vs. Auburn at 7 p.m.

The Southeastern Showdown wraps up with a pair of matches on Sept. 4, Auburn vs. Cal State Fullerton at 11 a.m. and SLU vs. Southern at 1:30 p.m.

Admission to all matches is free and fans are asked to enter the building upstairs through Gate 3. University policy requires individuals to wear a face covering over both their nose and mouth while indoors. If possible, fans are also asked to practice proper social distancing techniques and wash their hands frequently. Hand sanitizing stations are located throughout Southeastern’s athletic facilities.

DIGGIN’ IT CLUB / S CLUB
Fans interested in becoming active supporters of the Southeastern volleyball program are encouraged to join the Diggin’ It Club. Lion volleyball alums are encouraged to join the exclusive S Club, which is restricted to Southeastern athletic letter winners.

All membership fees and donations to both the Diggin’ It Club and S Club (volleyball) are available for the exclusive use of the Southeastern volleyball program. Membership information is available by contacting the Lion Athletics Association at laa@southeastern.edu or (985) 549-5091 or visiting www.LionUp.com.

SOCIAL MEDIA
For more information on Lady Lions Volleyball, follow @LionUpVB or @JWhiteSLU on Twitter, @LionUpVB on Instagram, like /SLUathletics on Facebook and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel.