Women’s beach volleyball team takes home a win after a first home game


Photo by Ben Blizzard

Freshman Katie Malzahn hits the ball back over the net, as an opposing player looks on

Joshua Calloni and Ben Blizzard

Lindenwood’s women’s beach volleyball team took home a win in its lone home game of the season on Sunday against the Eastern Illinois University Panthers.

The team, which is a first-year sport at Lindenwood, was 7-8 entering the match against Eastern Illinois, playing all of its previous games on the road. The Lions won by a score of 3-2.

Scoring in beach volleyball is done in sets, and each set is composed of two players on each side facing off against each other in a best-of-three, first-to-21 competition. Lindenwood won three of those five sets against Eastern Illinois, good enough to take home the win.

The first of the five sets was a Lindenwood win, as senior Maider Soto and freshman Katie Malzahn partnered up to face Eastern Illinois’ Kaitlynn Flynn and Sylvia Hasz. The two swept the opposing team in two games, winning the first by a score of 21-8, and the second by 21-7.

“Since it is the first year of the program, we all want to work hard to show what we are capable of. We have put in a lot of time to grow as a program and make a name for ourselves,” Malzahn said.

Lindenwood dropped the second of the five sets, as Lindenwood freshman Myah Hough and junior Amber Schade played the opposing duo of Christina Martinez and Tori Mohesky. The Lions dropped the first game 21-5 and again lost the second 21-11.

In the middle set of the event, Lindenwood won once again. Freshman Kailee McGee and junior Elise Llorens joined together to face off against Eastern Illinois’ Lilli Amettis and Giovana Lopez. Of the five sets, the third was the only one that took three games to decide a winner. McGee and Llorens won the first, 21-11, but dropped the second by a score of 21-14. Needing a win to secure the set, the two narrowly pulled off a victory by a score of 15-12, putting Lindenwood up 2-1 with two sets left to play.

In the fourth of five sets, Lindenwood sent juniors Rachel Mitts and Bailey Dugan to do battle against Eastern Illinois’ Ella Collins and Emily Wilcox. In the first game of the set, the two juniors narrowly lost to the Panthers, by a score of 21-19. They followed that game up with another loss, by a score of 21-13.

In the last set of the event, Lindenwood and Eastern Illinois were tied, and the final game would decide the overall winner. The Lions once again sent two juniors to the court, Rebecca Janke and McKenna Andorsky. They were faced off by the Panthers’ Kate Dean and Catalina Rochaix. The last of the five sets was arguably the most competitive, as Lindenwood won the first game by a score of 21-16. Needing one more win, the final game of the event went over the 21-point threshold, as Lindenwood won by a score of 23-21. With rally scoring, the Lions needed to win by two points and did just that.

“My mindset was to focus on one play at a time and not let the cold and wind affect us,” Malzahn said. “I think as a team, we did a good job of focusing on what we could control and handled the elements well. It was fun to watch our 3s pair battle it out for the overall win,”

The win against Eastern Illinois moves the beach volleyball team to a .500 record, 8-8. The team now heads to Morehead, Kentucky to play in the OVC weekend tournament for their final four games of the season.

On Friday, April 21, the Lions face off against the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Tennessee Tech University. The next day, April 22, they are set to play the University of Tennessee at Martin, and the host university, Morehead State.