ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – Lewis University’s sixth-ranked women’s volleyball team ran its season opening win streak to four with a pair of wins on Saturday at the Flagler Saints Invitational in St. Augustine, Fla. The Flyers (4-0) defeated Belmont Abbey in straight sets and then knocked off Valdosta State 3-1 in their finale.
In its opening match against the Crusaders (0-4), Lewis dominated trailing only once in the match and faced just three ties. The Flyers recorded 16 kills in the opening set and hit .323 and were led by Amanda Greening (Metamora, Ill./Metamora) and Ava Venema (Westmont, Ill./Timothy Christian) who combined for over half of the team’s kills as Lewis won the opener 25-11.
The Flyer defense was the story in the middle stanza holding Belmont Abbey to a negative .080 hitting percentage while their offense hit .217. Lewis’ defense had three total blocks and 11 digs in the frame. Megan Schlechte (Strasburg, Ill./Stewardson-Strasburg) paced the offense with three kills in the set.
The third stanza was all Flyers as they hit .344 and got six kills from Natalie Stefanski (Plainfield, Ill./Joliet West) on their way to a 25-13 victory. Venema added five kills in the set and Greening chipped in with four kills.
Lewis finished the match hitting .302 (42 kills/16 errors/86 total attacks). Venema, Greening and Stefanski had nine kills apiece to lead the Flyers. Lauren Stenman (Maplewood, Minn./North St. Paul) finished with 28 assists while Schlechte added eight digs.
In the finale of the tournament, the Flyers rolled through the first two sets hitting a combined .333 (29 kills/five errors/72 total attacks) on its way to set wins of 25-11 and 25-15. Venema had seven kills in the second set while Greening added five and Schlechte had five kills through the first two sets.
Lewis struggled offensively in set three hitting a negative .023 and committing 12 attack errors compared to 11 kills in 44 chances. The Flyers trailed 10-8 in the frame but were unable to overcome a 10-3 run by the Blazers (1-3) as they would force a fourth set with a 25-16 win.
Except for a pair of ties early in set four Lewis led for the entire set and at one point had an eight-point lead. Valdosta State made things interesting running off seven points in a row to cut the Flyer lead to 19-18. Lewis regrouped and was able to score six of the final nine points to hang for the 25-21 win.
Venema had a match-high 13 kills while hitting .480 and was joined in double figures by Greening with 10 kills. Stenman handed out 37 assists while Schlechte had a career-high 25 digs and Jamie Poppen (Ballwin, Mo./Parkway West) added 21 digs.
The Flyers hit .182 for the match recording 55 kills against 27 errors in 154 total attempts. The defense held the Blazers to .090 hitting percentage.
Lewis returns to the court next Friday (Sept. 10) as it travels to Denver, Colo., for the annual Colorado Premiere Challenge. The Flyers will take on 24th ranked Wayne State (Neb.) in its opening pool match at 12 p.m. (CDT) at Regis University. Lewis will take on No. 14 Western Washington in its final pool play match at 7 p.m. (CDT).