Defensive Player of the Week, Katelyn Meeks fuels Women’s Volleyball

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AJ Neuharth-Keusch

aneuharthkeus@radford.edu

Radford University Women’s Volleyball won two of their three matches this week, against Campbell University and North Carolina A&T State University.

In the first of three matches, RU was defeated 1-3 by High Point University on Friday in a Big South conference battle.

After a close first set (23-25), the Highs looked to be in control, winning the second set 25-17. However, High Point battled back and won 25-16 and 25-22.

The loss put the Highs record at 10-10. Junior outside hitter Emily Carlin led the match in kills with 21, senior libero Katelyn Meeks recorded 25 digs, and sophomore setter Jena Braden set up her teammates with 24 assists.

In the second match of the week, RU blanked Campbell 3-0.  The sets came with ease, as the Camels proved to be much weaker than the Highs. RU won the sets 25-21, 25-18, and 25-14.

The Highs, coming off of a two match losing streak to Gardner-Webb University and High Point, put themselves one win above .500 with the victory against Campbell.

Junior outside hitter Emily Carlin led RU in kills with 10, while sophomore setters Christine Beckham and Braden set up a combined 29 assists to lead the Highs to a smooth victory.

Meeks led the team with 15 digs. She was named Big South Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season and the fourth time in her career.

The win gave the Highs a 2-3 record within the Big South and an 11-10 overall record.

In the third matchup of the week, RU met North Carolina A&T State University, winning 3-0. The first set was close, but the Highs pulled out the win 25-23. The second and third set came more easily, as RU won the second 25-19 and third 25-22.

Leading the Highs in kills was sophomore middle blocker Emma Deininger with 10. Sophomore setter Christine Beckham led the team in assists (21) and Meeks led in digs (14).

The win put them at 12-10 and advanced their winning

streak to two.

The Highs are advancing into the most important part of their schedule, with the rest of their matches coming against Big South opponents.

With only nine contests left, RU needs to become dominant in the Big South if they have any hopes of finishing better than their 17-15 record from last year.

The Highs are currently sixth in the Big South Standings. Liberty University and Presbyterian University are tied for first with a 4-1 conference record.

The team, which is full of youth, is starting to grow in maturity and skill. Deininger, only a sophomore, leads the team in kills this season (134). She also leads the team in total points with 180. Rachel Wiechecki, also a sophomore, is second on the team in kills (119).

Braden, another sophomore, is first in assists for the Highs (386). Second is Beckham, a sophomore, with (355).

RU has much to be excited about for the future of their program. Of the 20 players, only four are seniors, while 12 of them are underclassmen.

If the young players continue to progress as quickly and steadily as they have been, RU could be a serious contender in the conference within the next couple of years.