dream up. Stephens College

Reale Represents Stephens on Daktronics-NAIA Volleyball Scholar-Athlete List

The junior carries a 3.59 GPA in the strategic communications program

December 5, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The postseason awards continue to roll in as the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced its 2014 Daktronics-NAIA Volleyball Scholar-Athletes on Friday. Rightside hitter Madison Reale represents Stephens College on the list of 455 volleyball student-athletes.

Concordia (Neb.) led all institutions with 10 individuals on the list. In order to be nominated by an institution’s head coach or sports information director, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved junior academic status to qualify for the honor.

Reale, a strategic communications major from Manchester, Mo., has maintained a 3.59 GPA in three years at Stephens. The junior captain is a two-time AMC Academic All-Conference honoree and has been a three-year starter for head coach Rose Obunaga. At rightside hitter, Reale is closing in on career marks of 500 kills, 500 digs and 100 blocks.

To learn more about the Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete award, click here.

2014 Daktronics-NAIA Volleyball Scholar-Athletes - PDF



Kircher, Phegley Highlight All-Conference Honors for Stephens Volleyball

Duo also named to the Academic All-Conference team along with four other Stars

November 16, 2014

ST. LOUIS - Two members of the Stephens College volleyball team earned 2014 All-American Midwest Conference honors, the league announced Saturday following the championship match between Park and Missouri Baptist. Middle hitter Kerri Kircher and setter Samantha Phegley both earned honorable mention, marking the first time in program history that more than one Star has received All-AMC accolades.

Following a productive freshman campaign in 2013, Kerri Kircher stepped up in a big way this year for the Stars. The sophomore sensation recorded double-digit kills in 11 matches this year, including five that came in conference play. She was the Stars’ top offensive weapon this season averaging 2.45 kills preset for 252 total kills. On top of being the strongest hitter, Kircher also led the team by a large margin in blocks. The Richmond, Ind., native was credited with the second-most solo blocks (42) in the AMC, while also contributing 54 block assists.

Samantha Phegley, the only senior on the Stars’ 2014 squad proved to be one of the most versatile players. In addition to her leadership skills, Phegley led Stephens in assists as the team’s primary setter and finished the year second in digs (222) and kills (179) and third in blocks (44). The West Plains, Mo., product transferred into Stephens last year and made an immediate impact for head coach Rose Obunaga. In two years with the Stars, she totaled more than 1200 assists, 450 digs and 250 kills.

Prior to the 2014 AMC Volleyball Tournament Quarterfinal matchup, Kircher and Phegley were also honored for their work in the classroom with AMC Academic All-Conference honors. Joining the All-Conference honorees were Taylor Edwards, Madison Reale, Yonne Nasimiyu and Emily Manczuk. To be eligible, a student-athlete must be in his/her second term of attendance at the institution and have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) as defined by the nominating institution.

Stephens ended the 2014 season with a 13-17 overall record and 5-7 in the American Midwest Conference. The five wins in league play is a new program best, while the 13 wins is the most in a single season since 2010 when the team went 16-20.

For the complete All-Conference release, click here.



Stars Wrap Up Season in AMC Quarterfinals with Straight-Set Loss to Undefeated Park

Pirates held Stephens to a –0.099 attack percentage, while hitting .405 against the Stars

November 11, 2014

Box Score

PARKVILLE, Mo. - Stephens College volleyball’s successful 2014 campaign came to a close on Tuesday with a 3-0 loss to second-ranked Park University in the AMC Tournament Quarterfinals. No. 1-seed Park coasted to a 25-10, 25-9, 25-13 win and advanced to the AMC Semifinals where they’ll play the winner of No. 4-seed William Woods and No. 5-seed Williams Baptist.

The Stars concluded their season with a 13-17 overall record and a program-best 5-7 clip in American Midwest Conference play. The 13 wins marks the most in a single season since 2010 when the team went 16-20.

Stephens scored the match’s first point, but had little success after that against the NAIA’s No. 2-ranked Pirates. Sophomores Yonne Nasimiyu and Kerri Kircher had two kills apiece compared to the rest of the team that accumulated zero kills and six errors.

The likely AMC Player of the Year Wendy Romero had her way with the Stars in the first set, hitting .625 with five commanding kills to go along three aces from the service line. Park recorded 13 kills in the opening frame and hit .367 as a team.

The Stars continued to struggle against the Pirate front line and couldn’t offset the powerful attack. Park scored the first eight points and ran off to a 17-3 lead. The undefeated Pirates hit .579 in the set on their to a 25-9 victory. Of the nine points earned in the second set, the Stars scored just two by way of kills, while the others came from five PU service errors and two attack errors.

Similar to the two team’s first meeting of the year, the Stars came alive in Set 3. Stephens climbed back from a five-point deficit to tie the set at 10-10. The talented Park squad combatted the nice stretch by SC with an 8-0 run. Stephens posted its best set offensively with five kills and 13 points, but struggled on serve receive as the Pirates knocked down seven service aces in the final frame.

Outside hitter Yonne Nasimiyu was the only Star to hit in the positives on Tuesday, slamming home five kills on 11 attempts for a .364 attack percentage. Kerri Kircher chipped in three kills, while Halan Mann, Darby Jones and Tylar Grant each had one apiece.

Other leaders for the Stars included Suhey Campos with a team-high seven digs and four assists, and Tylar Grant and Shay Wilkerson with one service ace each.




Stars Gear Up for AMC Tournament Showdown with Undefeated and No. 1-Seed Park

No. 1-Seed Park University (31-0, 12-0 AMC) vs. No. 8-Seed Stephens College (13-16, 5-7 AMC)

FIRST SERVE: 7:00 p.m. CST on Tuesday, November 11
LOCATION: Parkville, Mo., at Breckon Sports Center
LIVE VIDEO: http://portal.stretchinternet.com/amc/
LIVE STATS: http://portal.stretchinternet.com/amc/

The Last Meeting

The Number 5

About Stephens

About Park



Volleyball Clinches AMC Tournament Berth with 3-1 Win Over Freed-Hardeman University

The Stars are headed to the postseason tournament for the fifth time since joining the conference and second time under coach Obunaga

November 6, 2014

Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. - A balanced night of strong defense and hitting keyed the Stephens College volleyball team (13-16, 5-7 AMC) to a 3-1 victory over Freed-Hardeman University (9-15, 4-8 AMC) on Friday night. With a berth to the American Midwest Conference Tournament on the line, the Stars prevailed in a 25-12, 19-25, 25-22, 25-23 thriller. The two teams entered the matchup tied in the league standings with identical 4-7 AMC records. A win would secure a spot in the eight-team bracket, while the loser would have to rely on a Lyon loss to Harris-Stowe State. At about the same time the Stars celebrated their win, the Lyon Scots defeated HSSU by a score of 3-1 to punch their ticket and knock Freed-Hardeman out of postseason contention.

Stephens is headed to the AMC Volleyball Tournament for the fifth time since joining the conference. It marks the second tournament appearance under the direction of head coach Rose Obunaga. In 2012, the Stars fell in the first round to No. 1-seed and third-ranked Columbia College. Unofficially, Stephens will head to Parkville, Mo. on Tuesday (Nov. 11) to play No. 1-seed and NAIA’s second-ranked Park University. The Pirates are currently undefeated (30-0, 11-0 AMC) and have lost just two sets all season.

SC was dialed in from the get go and cruised to a 25-12 win in Set 1. The Stars scored the first four points of the match and rebounding from an off night on Thursday was middle hitter Kerri Kircher. The sophomore slammed home four kills within the first seven points. It was a team effort from then on as five others contributed kills throughout the set and Madison Reale cleaned up at the net with four blocks (1 solo, 3 assisted).

Freed-Hardeman came alive in the second set and managed to build a lead as much as seven. The Lady Lions held off a late run by the Stars to even the match with a 25-19 win. The visitors from Tennessee were particularly efficient on offense as they recorded 17 kills on 37 attempts.

Things were a bit shaky early in Set 3 as Freed-Hardeman jumped out to a 7-2 start. However, the Stars were relentless and scored nine of the next 10 points to take the lead for good. Despite a late rally by the Lady Lions, Stephens won third frame by a score of 25-22.

Both teams fought hard in the fourth set but a 5-1 run for the Stars midway through was the determining factor. Stephens increased its lead from 17-15 to 22-16 behind kills from Kircher (2), Darby Jones (1) and Halan Mann (1), who also added a service ace. The Stars closed out the match with a clutch kill by captain Samantha Phegley and a slim 25-23 victory.

Kircher paced the Stars with a team-high 13 kills, while outside hitter Yonne Nasimiyu had a nice bounce-back performance with 11 and six digs. Phegley posted an impressive triple-double with 10 kills, 23 assists, 13 digs, three blocks and one ace. Other notable performers include Suhey Campos with 18 digs and Danielle Craven with 17 assists and 10 digs.



Stephens Suffers 3-0 Setback In Non-Conference Match with Missouri Valley

Stars held to 22 kills on Thursday, while the visiting Vikings hit .299 and posted 46 kills

Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. - It was an off night for the Stephens College volleyball team (12-16, 4-7 AMC) as it fell in straight sets to Missouri Valley College (21-14, 4-5 HAAC) on Thursday. The Vikings invaded Silverthorne Arena, outplaying the Stars in nearly every statistical category and defeating SC by a score of 25-20, 25-17, 25-17.

One of the ways the visitors had success was by shutting down the Stars’ top hitter Kerri Kircher. The Vikings limited Kircher, who entered the match averaging 2.5 kills per set, to four kills and a -0.182 attack percentage.

On the flip side, the deep Missouri Valley squad had several athletes step up on offense and had five players with 5+ kills. That group was led by Rebecca Jones (11) and Aline Rosario (9).

Stephens kept the Vikings on their heels during the first set and led for more than half of the opening frame. In fact, the Stars held a narrow advantage at the 19-18 mark, but surrendered seven points in the final eight rallies.

The breakdown continued into Set 2 as the Stars yielded six attack errors in the earlygoing. The slow start was too much to overcome even with a match-best 10 team kills and .118 hitting percentage.

Another deficit too large to conquer had Stephens in a bind during the third set and final set. Missouri Valley jumped out to an 11-2 lead and squelched a few runs by SC during the middle of the set. The closest the Stars would get was a four-point margin.

Captain Samantha Phegley carried the team offensively with seven kills and a .294 hitting percentage. Middle hitter Shay Wilkerson also had an efficient day filling in for Halan Mann. Wilkerson finished the evening with five kills on 12 attempts. Other leaders on Thursday included Danielle Craven with 13 assists and the team’s only two service aces, while high school and college teammate Suhey Campos recorded a team-high eight digs.

Friday evening marks the Stars’ regular-season finale. Stephens will be battling it out with Freed-Hardeman for the final spot in the eight-team AMC Tournament. First serve is set for 7 p.m. with a special presentation honoring Capital One Academic All-American Jessica McConnell and NAIA Emil S. Liston Award winner Dana Heggemann between Sets 2 and 3.



Stars Fight to Finish, Lose in Five Sets at Williams Baptist

Stephens picked up wins in Sets 2 and 4, but couldn't pull off the upset

November 1, 2014

Box Score

WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. - The Stephens College volleyball team’s rally came up just short in a five-set thriller at Williams Baptist College on Saturday. The 25-14, 21-25, 25-16, 12-25, 15-12 decision marked back-to-back five-set losses for the Stars, both against American Midwest Conference (AMC) foes.

Unlike Friday’s match at Lyon, the Stars showed off a better display of mental toughness when the going got rough. The Stars were their own worst enemy in the first and third sets, committing 11 attack errors in each frame, while the Eagles had two of their best sets during those stretches.

However, every time Williams Baptist went up by a set, the Stars had an answer. Especially in the fourth set when SC played error-free volleyball and dominated the Eagles with 12 kills and just two errors. Stephens middle hitter Kerri Kircher had a terrific performance in Set 4, leading the way with six kills on nine attempts.

That made the tiebreaker set even more interesting as Stephens had a bit of momentum. Both the Eagles and Stars held a lead in the fifth set, but neither squad led by more than three. The Stars led early on, but the key stat in the finale was an efficient 11 kills for the Eagles compared to six for the Stars.

Both teams had double-digit blocks on Saturday and were rather successful at the net. Williams Baptist totaled 15 blocks including 26 block assists, while the Stars combined for 11 blocks (7 solo, 8 assisted). Defensively, Stephens cleaned up its serve receive from the previous match, allowing just three WBC aces in five sets.

Kircher registered a match-high 13 kills on .175 hitting and added four blocks (3 S, 1 A) to her stat line. Freshman Halan Mann had a team-best six blocks (3 S, 3 A) to go along with seven kills and a service ace. Senior Samantha Phegley recorded a rare triple-double with 10 kills, 18 assists and 14 digs. Outside hitter Yonne Nasimiyu joined Kircher and Phegley with double-figure kills (11).

Fighting for a spot in the American Midwest Conference tournament, the Stars are now in a must-win situation against Freed-Hardeman. Currently, FHU, Lyon, Hannibal-LaGrange and Stephens all have four wins in conference and are battling for the final two spots in the eight-team bracket.

Stephens volleyball will be at home in the familiar confines of Silverthorne Arena for the remainder of its regular-season schedule. On Thursday, the Stars host non-conference opponent Missouri Valley (7 p.m.) and close out the homestretch with Freed-Hardeman on Friday at 7 p.m.



Lyon Plays Spoiler in Five-Set Thriller Over the Stars

Stephens struggled offensively after winning first two sets of the match

October 31, 2014

Box Score

BATESVILLE, Ark. - Stephens College volleyball’s four-game winning streak came to an end in dramatic fashion as Lyon College climbed back from a 2-0 deficit on Friday night. Following wins of 25-22 and 25-15 for the Stars, Lyon virtually shut down Stephens’ offensive production and won by scores of 25-11, 25-20, 15-10.

During the last three frame, SC was held in the negatives, including a -0.538 hitting percentage in the tiebreaker set. The Stars came up empty with zero kills and seven attack errors, while relying on Lyon miscues to keep within striking distance.

Stephens began the match with a 4-1 start, but saw its lead dissipate due to struggles on serve receive. At 16-15, the Stars regained the lead and traded points with Lyon until they went ahead for good at 18-17. With set point on the line, Danielle Craven serve up an assist to Kerri Kircher, who closed out the nerve-racking set. Kircher finished Set 1 with four kills.

The Stars fell into an early deficit in the second set as Lyon continued to target the SC backline. Luckily, the Stars bounced back, took a 10-9 lead and upped the ante to 18-11 during the next 10 rallies. Moments later, Stephens finished the frame with a 25-15 victory.

Miscommunication seemed to be a reoccurring theme in the third set as the Stars fell behind early. In a do-or-die situation, Lyon rose to the occasion, leading by as much as 14 and hitting a match-best .611.

Taking the opening service error out of the equation, Lyon led the entire set from then on. Along with the resurgence of the home crowd, the Scots continued to build momentum. The Stars pulled within two points of Lyon on six separate occasions, even as late as 19-17, but couldn’t break through the barrier.

Despite a 3-0 start to the tiebreaker set, Stephens was unable to carry on at that pace. A Kerri Kircher solo block was the only point scored by the Stars as Lyon surrendered the other nine points via service and attack errors.

Kircher had the most productive evening for SC with a team-high seven kills and an impressive six blocks (5 solo, 1 assisted). Other leaders for the Stars included Samantha Phegley with 21 assists, Suhey Campos with 12 digs and Halan Mann and Danielle Craven with two service aces apiece.

The Stars (12-14, 4-6 AMC) will wrap up their Arkansas trip on Saturday with Williams Baptist College at 12 p.m. The Eagles enter the key conference matchup with a record of 17-11, 6-3 AMC.



Volleyball Pushes Winning Streak to Four with Sweep of Crowley's Ridge

Stars close within one game of .500 with 25-14, 25-21, 25-14 road victory

October 31, 2014

Box Score

PARAGOULD, Ark. - The middle hitter duo of Kerri Kircher and Halan Mann combined for 23 kills on Friday afternoon to power the Stephens College volleyball team to a 25-14, 25-21, 25-14 sweep at Crowley’s Ridge College. The Stars improved to 12-13 on the year and kept their winning streak alive as the team has now claimed its last four matches by 3-0 scores.

Strong hitting was the key for Stephens as the Stars outhit Crowley’s Ridge in kills, 42-18, and held the home team to a -.040 hitting percentage. SC hit .230 as a team and also outblocked the Pioneers 4-1 in the early afternoon affair.

Kircher and Mann dominated the first set as they slammed home six kills apiece and fueled the Stars to 25-14 win. The pair also collected a solo block along the way, including Mann's, which occurred during set point.

Stephens came out with a different lineup to start the second set and spread the offensive production amongst seven players. An unusual source of offense, defensive specialist Taylor Edwards led the way in Set 2 with three kills. Crowley’s Ridge closed within a point at the 20-19 mark, but couldn’t pull off the comeback.

The Pioneers carried their momentum into the third set and jumped out to a 7-2 advantage before Stephens turned things around. The Stars picked up eight of the next nine points and controlled the rest of the set for another 25-14 victory.

Kircher led all players with 12 kills, while Mann was not far behind (11 kills, 2 solo blocks). Upperclassmen Madison Reale and Samantha Phegley contributed six and five kills, respectively, with the latter recording 21 assists, seven digs and two aces.

Defensively, libero Suhey Campos averaged 9.3 digs per set and reached a new career-high with 28.

The Stars will travel an hour and a half east to Batesville, Ark. for a key AMC matchup with Lyon College at 7 p.m. Live stats (free) and live video ($7.95) for tonight's match can be found on Lyon's Stretch Internet Portal.



Stars Extend Winning Streak with Sweep of Calvary Bible College

Stephens hit .314 as a team for third consecutive straight-set victory

October 28, 2014

Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Stephens College volleyball team won its third match in a row Tuesday with a 25-11, 25-11, 25-9 victory over Calvary Bible College at Silverthorne Arena. The Stars also celebrated Senior Night for two-year starter and captain Samantha Phegley.

Stephens overpowered the visitors from Kansas City, Mo. and played mistake-free volleyball throughout each set. For the match, Stephens piled up 36 kills and hit .314 compared to a -0.124 attack percentage and 13 kills for the Warriors. With the win, the Stars improved to 11-13 overall.

In the first set, SC spread the wealth as six different players registered a kill. Freshman middle hitter Shay Wilkerson had a breakout performance slamming home five kills in Set 1. Tylar Grant, Kerri Kircher, Madison Reale and Phegley each added two apiece to aid the Stars in their best set of the match.

Calvary Bible College kept within striking distance in the beginning of Set 2, but let the game slip away midway through. A different freshman middle hitter led the way this time around as Halan Mann recorded six kills, two blocks (1 S, 1 A) and a service ace. The Stars put up back-to-back 25-11 set wins to inch closer to the sweep.

They wasted little time in Set 3, jumping out to a 7-0 lead thanks to the serving of Shay Wilkerson, who had two aces in the opening stretch. Stephens continued to dominate the offensive side of things and hit .360 to finish out the set. In a picture perfect way to end the night, Rachael Ramirez set up Samantha Phegley for a kill and the final point of the match.

Wilkerson paced the Stars with 10 kills and an impressive .529 hitting percentage, while also adding two aces and two blocks to her final stat line. Ramirez had a solid outing with a match-best 16 assists to go along with three kills, three aces and three digs.

The Stars head to Arkansas on Friday morning for a pair of crucial American Midwest Conference matches versus Lyon (Oct. 31) and Williams Baptist (Nov. 1). The team will start out the weekend with a non-conference match at Crowley’s Ridge College.

2014-15 Senior Class
#9 Samantha Phegley | Setter | West Plains, Mo. | West Plains High School (MCC-Longview)
Phegley transferred into Stephens last year and made an immediate impact for head coach Rose Obunaga’s squad as the team’s primary setter. She provided leadership as a proven upperclassman, who was a NJCAA All-American (second team). At MCC-Longview, Phegley also helped lead the Lakers to the NJCAA National Tournament in 2011. In a Stars’ uniform, the versatile senior has compiled more than 1,100 assists, 400 digs and 200 kills. Phegley has helped this year’s team exceed expectations as the Stars are on track to earn a berth to the AMC postseason tournament in November.




Volleyball Registers Back-to-Back Sweeps with 3-0 Blanking of Benedictine-Springfield

The Stars hit .230 for the match and had a balanced attack with three players recording eight kills apiece

October 23, 2014

Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Stephens College volleyball team moved one step closer to an American Midwest Conference (AMC) Volleyball Tournament berth with a 3-0 sweep of Benedictine University at Springfield on Thursday. With a 26-24, 25-11, 27-25 win over the Bulldogs, Stephens improved to 10-13, 4-5 AMC and now sits in seventh place in the league standings.

Also, for the first time this season, the Stars have logged back-to-back straight-set victories.

The first set was a wild one as the two teams engaged in a back-and-forth battle. SC jumped out to an 8-3 advantage, surrendered eight straight points to the Bulldogs and then regained the lead. Benedictine was at set point, 24-20, however a late rally -- four consecutive kills (Phegley, Reale, Mann, Phegley) and a BENE ballhandling error – helped the Stars claim a 26-24 win in Set 1.

Riding momentum from the previous frame, Stephens couldn’t have asked for a better start to Set 2. Following a Tylar Grant kill, Danielle Craven served nine consecutive rallies and a pair of aces along the way. Powered by a 10-0 lead, the Stars ran off with the set and cruised to a 25-11 win. During the second set, the Stars hit an impressive .435 with 13 kills and just three errors.

The 3-0 sweep didn’t come easy for SC as Benedictine pulled away late in the set. For the second time in the match, the Bulldogs had Stephens at set point, this time at 24-23. Upperclassman Samantha Phegley was in on each of the final three plays, tying the set at 25-all with a kill, registering an assisted block to take the lead and assisting Yonne Nasimiyu to close out the match.

Individually, the trio of Kerri Kircher, Halan Mann and Tylar Grant combined for 24 of the Stars’ 40 kills, recording eight apiece. Phegley and Nasimiyu weren’t far behind as each was credited with six kills. Senior Sam Phegley added 18 digs and 18 assists to her kill total.

Another standout came from setter Danielle Craven who was a force from the service line. She had a perfect 1.000 serving percentage with 24 attempts and two aces.

Defensively, libero Suhey Campos reached 20+ digs for the sixth time this year. The freshman registered a match-high 21, which sets a new career-high for 3-set matches.

Stephens will look to continue its winning streak as it hosts Calvary Bible College on Senior Night next Tuesday (Oct. 28) at 6 p.m. The Stars will be recognizing one senior -- setter Samantha Phegley -- for her contributions the past two years.



Valley City State, Waldorf Deal Stephens Volleyball Pair of Losses on Day 1 of Invitational

Stars fall to 8-12 on the season

October 17, 2014

FOREST CITY, Iowa - The Stephens College volleyball team dropped two contests on the first day of the Holiday Inn Express Invitational, hosted by Waldorf College. In the afternoon match, the Stars were swept by Valley City State (N.D.), but kept it close in each set [23-25, 20-25, 20-25]. Then in the nightcap, Stephens jumped out to a 1-0 lead before Waldorf stormed back with three straight wins [25-17, 19-25, 21-25, 15-25].

Stephens is now 8-12 overall with the pair of losses. The team will wrap up its Iowa trip at 9:30 a.m. versus Mayville State (N.D.) and 2 p.m. versus AIB (Iowa). Earlier this year, the Stars defeated AIB College of Business in straight sets [25-21, 25-18, 25-17].

Match 1
Stephens fought tooth and nail in Set 1 attempting to take an early match lead, however, the Vikings outlasted the Stars, 25-23. The first set saw seven different Stars register a kill, led by Yonne Nasimiyu and Samantha Phegley with three apiece. As a team, SC hit .233 in the first frame with 12 kills and five attack errors.

Middle hitter Kerri Kircher found some rhythm in the second set and slammed home five kills, while the rest of the team combined for five kills and five attack errors. VCSU capitalized on the Star miscues and seized a 25-20 set victory.

Even though Set 3’s outcome mirrored the previous set score (25-20), the Stars had their best frame of the match. In the final set, they hit .417 overall and record 13 kills and just three hitting errors.

Kircher and Phegley paced the Stars with eight kills apiece while the latter added 13 assists and a solo block. SC’s Halan Mann also had an efficient afternoon posting five kills, two aces, and three blocks (1 solo, 2 assisted).

Match 2 - Box Score
Stephens got off to a heck of a start versus Waldorf as it scored eight of the first 10 points. The Stars were particularly strong on attack and at the net, which continued throughout the set. SC took a 1-0 lead in the match behind a 25-17 first-set victory and 11 combined kills from the trio of Kircher (5), Phegley (3) and Mann (3).

Waldorf evened the match at 1-1 following a 25-19 win over the Stars in Set 2. The tournament host then used that momentum to get a step ahead of Stephens in the third frame. The Stars had an answer and fought their way back into the game, but a late run by the Vikings was the deciding factor. Following a 21-21 tie, Waldorf rattled off four straight points with a block, two kills and a Stephens attack error on set point.

Another slow start found the Stars in an 8-1 deficit in the do-or-die set. Unfortunately, Waldorf did everything in its power to keep its distance and finished off the match with an overpowering 25-15 win in Set 4.



Resilient Stars Battle Back to Defeat Hannibal-LaGrange, 3-1

Balanced attack led by K. Kircher (12 kills, .385) and H. Mann (9 kills, .400) gave Stephens the edge

October 14, 2014

Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Stephens College volleyball team rebounded from a first set loss and won three straight to defeat Hannibal-LaGrange University on Tuesday. Decked out in pink uniforms for their “Spike for the Cure” match, the Stars snapped a three-game losing streak with the 20-25, 25-16, 25-20, 27-25 victory.

Stephens improved to 8-10, 3-5 AMC and earned its first-ever victory over the Trojans (records dating back to 2007). Meanwhile, HLGU dropped to 5-21 overall and 3-4 in conference play.

The Stars got sidetracked in Set 1 with an ungenerous .023 hitting percentage on 11 kills and a costly 10 errors. Hannibal-LaGrange took advantage of the Stars’ sloppy start and gained the 1-0 advantage after a 25-20 win.

Luckily, SC found its way out the early funk and cleaned up the error problem. In fact, it was a huge turnaround as the Stars had 13 kills compared to a match-low two errors. After the frame was tied at 11-11, Stephens pulled ahead for good, scoring 14 of the final 19 points. The middle hitter group of Kerri Kircher and Halan Mann combined for seven kills as Stephens coasted to a 25-16 set victory.

Other than an early 1-2 deficit, the Stars kept a small cushion between them and the Trojans. The third set turned out to be the most efficient for head coach Rose Obunaga and her squad as Stephens hit an impressive .394 with 15 kills and two errors.

In the fourth and final set, Stephens and Hannibal-LaGrange battled relentlessly and neither team led by more than four. The Stars jumped out to a 21-17 lead, but surrendered five straight points to the Trojans, which made things interesting. Three ties later, HLGU had Stephens at set point (25-24), yet the Stars were unwilling to give up. A Hannibal-LaGrange service error evened it at 25, followed by a Mann kill and match-ending attack error by the Trojans.

Stephens had balanced attack with five players recording six or more kills. Kircher paced the Stars with 12, followed by Mann (9), Samantha Phegley (8), Yonne Nasimiyu (8) and Madison Reale (7).

Quietly, Samantha Phegley closed in on a triple-double with her eight kills, 25 assists and 12 digs. Freshman libero Suhey Campos led the team in digs and service aces with 22 and two, respectively.



Road Woes Continue for Stars in 3-0 Loss at William Woods

For the first time this season, Stephens had more attack errors than kills

October 7, 2014

Box Score

FULTON, Mo. - It was hard to find many positives that came out of Tuesday’s match as the Stephens College volleyball team lost on the road at William Woods, 25-15, 25-12, 25-19. One of the lone bright spots for the Stars came from the outside hitter position as freshman Tylar Grant hit .214 with a team-best six kills.

Aside from Grant and middle hitter Kerri Kircher, the Stars struggled mightily on offense, registering more attack errors (20) than kills (19). And, for the second match in a row, Stephens was held under 20 kills.

The Stars got behind early and it seems that they never found their comfort level in Anderson Arena. A Madison Reale kill narrowed the WWU lead to three points at 10-7, but that was the closest Stephens would get. In addition to just four kills in the first set, the Stars struggled with serve receive as the Owls recorded five aces on their way to a 25-15 set victory.

WWU jumped out to a commanding 10-2 lead in Set 2 thanks to the front row presence of Emily Becker and Abbi McKnelly. On one particular rally, the Owls blocked back three consecutive Stephens attack attempts and ended in a William Woods point. The Owls rattled off eight straight points in the middle of the set and cruised to a 25-12 win thanks to an error-free frame and a .389 hitting percentage.

After hitting in the negatives during the first two sets, Stephens finally put together a positive frame with eight kills and six attack errors in Set 3. Coinciding with the highest hitting percentage was the closest set. Unfortunately, the Owls held off a late Star rally and finished the match with a 25-19 win.

William Woods continued its strong serving throughout the match, totaling 14 aces on the evening compared to just one team service for the Stars. Owls’ Abbi McKnelly led all players with nine kills and four aces.

Other notable performers for Stephens included Kircher with four kills and a .176 attack percentage, and libero Suhey Campos, who recorded a match-best 14 digs.

Wrapping up its five-game road swing, the Stars will now return to the confines of Silverthorne Arena for a home match on Tuesday, Oct. 14. The match versus Hannibal-LaGrange also represents Stephens’ Spike for the Cure pink match. The first 25 students in attendance will receive special edition ‘Breast Cancer Awareness’ tube socks.



Volleyball Falls in Straight Sets to One-Loss Missouri Baptist

18th-ranked Spartans had best offensive performance of season to shut down Stephens

October 3, 2014

Box Score

ST. LOUIS - No. 18-ranked Missouri Baptist University (18-1, 5-0 AMC) brought it’s A-Game on Friday as it swept the Stephens College volleyball team, 3-0, at Petty Sports and Recreation Complex. The Spartans posted their highest attack percentage of the season (.452), while the Stars (7-9, 2-4 AMC) were held to a season-low 14 kills and .000 hitting percentage.

MBU scored 10 consecutive points to start the match and jumped out to a commanding 15-3 lead. Stephens was unable to shake off the slow start, falling to the Spartans, 25-9, in the first set. Highlighting the Set 1 was a near-perfect hitting percentage of .700 for Missouri Baptist as the team combined for 16 kills on 20 swings.

The Stars appeared to find some rhythm in the second set and rattled the Spartans with an 11-2 lead. The quick start was aided by three Kerri Kircher kills, service aces from Madison Reale and Taylor Edwards, as well as kills by Samantha Phegley and Yonne Nasimiyu. Stephens’ run was short-lived though as MBU stormed back with nine straight points to tie it up. The 18th-ranked squad used another big stretch to close out the set, scoring the final eight points for a 25-17 victory.

Missouri Baptist once again limited the offensive chances for Stephens and allowed just one kill in the final set. As a team, the Stars hit -0.200 with five errors on 20 swings.

On a rather off night, the Stars didn’t have any players with more than five kills. Setter/outside hitter Sam Phegley had a team-high in kills (4) and assists (5). Others that posted multiple kills included Kircher (3), Darby Jones (3) and Halan Mann (2).

After playing three top-20 teams in the past four matches, the Stars have another tough test ahead of them as they visit William Woods (13-10, 4-1 AMC) on Tuesday.



Stars Pose Problems for No. 4 Park, Fall in Straight Sets

Stephens volleyball led late in Set 3, nearly stealing a set from the near-perfect Pirates

October 1, 2014

Box Score

PARKVILLE, Mo. - Improving each set against undefeated Park University (23-0, 3-0 AMC), the Stephens College volleyball team (7-8, 2-3 AMC) fell in straight sets on Wednesday to the NAIA’s fourth-ranked squad. Park extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 23 and has now won 69 out of 70 sets on the season.

The Stars threatened the fourth-ranked Pirates in Set 3 and even jumped ahead at the 21-20 mark, however, Park pulled through to capture the match, 25-9, 25-15, 25-21. Stephens’ 21 points in the third set marks the fourth highest total against the Pirates this season.

Two-time NAIA Player of the Week Wendy Romero made it look easy in the first set slamming home nine kills on 14 swings for the Pirates. The Stars climbed back from a 6-1 deficit and closed within three (10-7), but a 14-point run by Park nearly finished off the set. PU went on to win the frame, 25-9.

Stephens slightly calmed down the Park offense in the second set, forcing one more error and decreasing the kill output by three. Nevertheless, Park continued to hit well (.440) and cruised to a 25-15 set victory.

The third set proved to be a whole different story. Stephens took it first lead of the match at 6-5 and kept the Pirates from surging ahead. SC reached its biggest lead of the set at 11-8 and again at 12-9. Within reach of taking down the AMC powerhouse, Park called a timeout and then scored five consecutive points to avoid the upset in Set 3. The Stars gave them a run for their money behind the strong play of middle hitter Halan Mann and Samantha Phegley, who posted four and three kills, respectively.

Phegley led the Stars on the night with six kills, 10 assists and the second most digs with seven. Yonne Nasimiyu and Mann finished with four kills apiece, while Kerri Kircher was limited to just three kills following her 19-kill performance against Harris-Stowe State.

As a team, the Stars were limited to a .079 hitting percentage compared to Park, who finished the night at .384 after starting out .500 and .440 in Sets 1 and 2. Pirates’ standout Wendy Romero notched a match-best 15 kills and three service aces.

Next up for Stephens is No. 18 Missouri Baptist, marking the third ranked opponent in four matches for the Stars. First serve is set for 7 p.m. on Friday at MBU.



Kircher’s 19 Kills Pace Stars in 3-1 Victory at Harris-Stowe State

Sophomore Kerri Kircher posted 19 kills and 5.5 blocks to help the Stars’ surpass 2013 win total

September 30, 2014

Box Score

ST. LOUIS - Behind a balanced attack, Stephens College volleyball defeated Harris-Stowe State on the road, 3-1 [25-18, 25-22, 23-25, 25-13]. Halfway through the season, the Stars have now improved to 7-7 overall and 2-2 in the American Midwest Conference, surpassing both league and overall win totals from 2013. Last year, the Stars finished 6-24 and 1-10 in the AMC.

Stephens eclipsed 50 team kills for the third time this season and had success at both the net and service line. As a team, the Stars recorded nine total blocks and nine service aces.

In the first set, SC was paced by the play of middle hitter Kerri Kircher and outside hitter Tylar Grant, each with four kills apiece. Stephens posted a .219 attack percentage and defeated the Hornets, 25-18.

The Stars got off to another quick start in Set 2 thanks to back-to-back aces by setter Danielle Craven. The Kansas City, Mo., freshman added two more service aces during the set to bring her grand total to four. HSSU hung around and even tied the set at 22-22 before the Stars scored the final three points on a Tylar Grant kill, Kircher/Phegley block and Craven ace.

A drawn-out third set included 11 different ties as both squads battled it out to the end. In survival mode and looking to force a fourth set, Harris-Stowe State scored the final two points following a 23-23 tie.

Stephens rebounded with a 25-13 set win and its best all-around performance, hitting .308 on 12 kills and a minimal four errors. Meanwhile, the Stars’ defense held the Hornets to a match-low -0.100 attack percentage (6-9-30). Stephens standout Kerri Kircher was one of the main reasons for that as she registered six kills and five assisted blocks in the fourth set alone.

On the evening, Kircher led all players with 19 kills, a .382 hitting percentage and a whopping 5.5 blocks (2 solo, 7 assisted).

Five different Stars registered at least five kills with Kircher leading the charge. Yonne Nasimiyu closed in on double figures with nine kills, followed by Sam Phegley (7), Tylar Grant (6) and Darby Jones (5).

Defensively, Stephens had three players with double-digit digs including Suhey Campos with a match-high 22, along with Jones and Phegley with 12 apiece.

A tough matchup awaits the Stars on Wednesday as they travel to Parkville, Mo., to take on undefeated and No. 4-ranked Park University at 7 p.m.



Stars Lose in Straight Sets to Seventh-Ranked Columbia

SC never gained any traction as the Cougars won handily by a score of 25-12, 25-14, 25-7

September 23, 2014

Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Never an easy task, the Stephens College volleyball team traveled crosstown to play Columbia College at Southwell Complex on Tuesday. The Cougars, ranked No. 7 in the latest NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, backed up their lofty rating with a clean sweep of the Stars, 25-12, 25-14, 25-7.

In Set 1, Columbia jumped out to an 18-4 lead over the Stars. Despite falling 25-12, Stephens was able to salvage the back half of the set, outscoring the Cougars 8-7 in the final 15 rallies. By the end of the frame, the Stars found their way back to a .000 attack percentage. Freshman Darby Jones posted a team-high two kills in the first set.

SC dug itself out of a 5-1 hole to begin Set 2 and narrowed the gap to 7-6 thanks to the trio of Kerri Kircher, Sam Phegley and Halan Mann who combined for four kills and a service ace in that stretch. Unfortunately, Columbia continued to muscle its way through the match and registered an impressive .560 hitting percentage with 15 kills and just one error in the second set.

The Lady Cougars saved their best for last. Hitting .609, Columbia was able to coast to a 25-7 victory to wrap up the match. It marked the Cougars’ 11th straight win in 20 matches.

CC was led by senior Paula Rosa (13 kills, .600) and freshman Manon Soraru (11 kills, .474), who also added seven combined block assists to the stat sheet.

It was a rather quiet evening on offense for the Stars as the team recorded a season-low 19 kills. Sophomore outside hitter Yonne Nasimiyu had the most productive night against the towering front row of the Cougars. Nasimiyu hit an efficient .444 with four kills on just nine swings. Kircher and Phegley also had four kills apiece, Freshman Danielle Craven led the setters with a team-high nine assists.

The Stars will have a week of rest before they embrace another tough part of their schedule. Next Tuesday, SC will visit Harris-Stowe State, followed by a Wednesday contest at undefeated and fourth-ranked Park University. Also on the slate is a Friday matchup in St. Louis at 19th-ranked Missouri Baptist.



Stephens Volleyball Splits Matches with Haskell Indian Nations, AIB College of Business

Stars fall in four sets to Haskell before sweeping AIB College of Business on Saturday

September 20, 2014

PERU, Neb. - Stephens College volleyball (6-6, 1-1 AMC) completed its trip to Peru, Neb., on Saturday with a 3-0 sweep of AIB College of Business. In the first match of the afternoon, the Stars hung tough with Haskell Indian Nations, but lost in four sets by a score of 22-25, 25-21, 10-25, 22-25.

With the blanking of AIB, Stephens matched its win total from last year, moving to 6-6 on the season.

Haskell Indian Nations 3, Stephens 1 (Box Score)
In set one, Haskell went off for a match-best 15 kills and were led by senior Tiffany Runs Through, who posted six kills in the opening frame. No team had a lead larger than three in the set and the Stars evened the match at 21-21. Unfortunately, HINU scored four of the next five points.

Haskell took the early lead in Set 2, but a Halan Mann kill jumpstarted the offense and fueled a seven-point run for the Stars. SC maintained the lead throughout and evened the match with a 25-21 win.

The momentum stopped there as Haskell dominated the third set. In addition to an error-ridden performance by Stephens, HINU was practically error-free with seven kills and just one attack error. Haskell won with ease by a score of 25-10.

Stephens had its chances in the fourth set to recuperate and led both in the beginning and at the end of the set. With a 20-19 lead, the Stars yielded four quick points to Haskell and eventually lost 25-22.

Senior Sam Phegley and sophomore Kerri Kircher paced the Stars’ offense with 11 kills apiece. Continuing to split reps at setter, freshman Danielle Craven posted a team-high 19 assists on 54 attempts, while Phegley added another 15 assists. Libero Suhey Campos led the defense with 19 digs.

Stephens 3, AIB College of Business 0 (No Box Score Available)
There was no rest for the weary as the Stars played back-to-back matches on Saturday. Despite the quick turnaround, Stephens rebounded nicely with a 25-21, 25-18, 25-17 victory over the AIB Eagles. It marked the third win in straight sets for the Stars this season.

In the third set with a sweep in reach, Stephens kicked it into second gear. Sophomore Taylor Edwards served up an ace followed by a Kerri Kircher/Darby Jones block to give the Stars a 24-16 lead and match-point. After a serving miscue, the Kircher was back at the net making plays, teaming up this time with Sam Phegley to close out the match.

The Stars have a tough test ahead as they play at crosstown rival Columbia College on Tuesday evening. The Cougars are currently ranked fifth in the country with a 17-2 overall record.



Peru State Defends Home Court with 3-0 Sweep of the Stars

The Stephens volleyball team was held to a season-low 26 kills and .022 hitting percentage

September 19, 2014

Box Score

PERU, Neb. - Less than 24 hours after its first conference win of the season, the Stephens College volleyball team was back in action. On Friday, the Stars came out a bit sluggish and couldn’t rebound quick enough as they were swept by Peru State College, 25-16, 25-14, 25-20. SC is back at the .500 mark with a 5-5 overall record, while the host Bobcats moved to 8-6 on the season.

As a team, Stephens registered a season low 26 kills and .022 hitting percentage. For the second match in a row, middle hitter Kerri Kircher led the Stars in kills, however, the sophomore was limited to six and had eight errors on 24 swings.

Part of the struggles came at the net, as Peru State sported a front line with three players above 6-foot. The Bobcats recorded eight total blocks and received strong play from 6-foot 2 Lea Boras, who had a match-high 12 kills and .476 hitting percentage. The PSC front row combined for 21 of their 38 kills and added five blocks to the mix.

Hanging with the home team for the first half of the set, Stephens then hit a roadblock following a timeout break. Trailing by a slim margin, 15-13, the Bobcats fired off eight consecutive points out of the timeout and gave themselves plenty of breathing room. PSC claimed Set 1 with a 25-16 victory.

Peru State used another lengthy mid-set run to create distance and position itself for a 2-0 lead in the match. The Bobcats scored nine points in the span of 10 rallies and cruised to a 25-14 win.

In the evening's most competitive set, the Stars battled point-for-point with Peru State and even gained the lead at the 14-12 mark. SC couldn’t quite take control though. With the match tied at 20-all, the Stars conceded the final five points and fell in the third set, 25-20.

Tomorrow, the Stars will begin the day with a 12 p.m. match against Haskell Indian Nations, followed by a 2 p.m. meeting with AIB College of Business. Both matches are scheduled to be streamed online at Peru State Sports Network.



Stephens Volleyball Holds Off St. Louis College of Pharmacy for 3-1 Win

Sophomore Kerri Kircher has great all-around performance with 18 kills, 4.5 blocks

September 18, 2014

Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Snagging victories in sets one and two, the Stephens College volleyball team had to dig deep and fend off the visitors from St. Louis College of Pharmacy on Thursday evening. But the conclusion nonetheless was a victory as the Stars defeated the Eutectics, 3-1 [25-23, 25-13, 22-25, 26-24].

In front of the net, Stephens held an 11-to-8 team blocking advantage. The Stars also led the way in kills (53-to-40), hitting percentage (.184 to .050) and digs (75-to-69), while the Eutectics had eight service aces compared to one for Stephens.

By the end of the match, sophomore middle hitter Kerri Kircher had closed in on career marks in both kills and blocks for a four-set match. The Richmond, Ind., native notched a match-high 18 kills and five blocks (4 solo, 1 assisted).

The freshman tandem of Halan Mann and Tylar Grant also turned in nice performances on offense as Mann reached double figures kills (10) with a .261 attack percentage and Grant way one shy of 10 kills with 23 total swings. Defensively, libero Suhey Campos posted a career-high 24 digs to go along with the team’s only ace.

Despite getting out to a 4-0 lead in the first set, the Stars were unable to fully capitalize on STLCOP’s slow start. The score remained tight throughout with neither team leading by more than four. With the game knotted at 23-23, Kerri Kircher slammed home two consecutive kills from Sam Phegley to close out the set.

The Stars (5-4, 1-1 AMC) cruised through the next set with a match-high .385 hitting percentage and 13 kills as a team. In addition to the strong offensive output, SC also strung together four blocks in Set 2, including solo blocks from freshmen Shay Wilkerson (2) and Halan Mann (1).

Once again, Stephens jumped out to an early lead. This time around, St. Louis College of Pharmacy jumped ahead (12-11) and never trailed the rest of the set. Erasing a six-point deficit, the Stars nearly staged a comeback, but it was too little, too late.

Staying alive, the Eutectics used momentum from Set 3 to pull ahead by as much as seven in the earlygoing. Gradually, the Stars pulled it together and grabbed its first lead of the set at 21-20. An intense series of points ensued as the Stars finished off the match with a Kircher kill and STLCOP attack error.

Up next for the Stars is a trip to Peru, Neb., on Friday and Saturday as the team takes part in a quad match with Peru State College, AIB College of Business and Haskell Indian Nations University.



Stephens Falls in Conference Opener to Lindenwood-Belleville, 3-1

The Stars won Set 2 with a commanding 25-15 victory, but yielded several big runs in the final two frames

September 16, 2014

Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. - There were certainly moments when the Stephens College volleyball team looked in control of its first match in conference play, however, Lindenwood University-Belleville pulled through to defeat the Stars, 3-1, on Tuesday. Taking advantage of several Star miscues, the Lynx won by a score of 25-19, 15-25, 25-19, 25-18 and notched their first league victory as a member of the American Midwest Conference (AMC).

Senior captain Samantha Phegley led the Stars in both kills (9) and assists (17). She also added 12 digs for a double-double. Joining Phegley with a double-double was freshman setter Danielle Craven (12 digs, 10 assists. Also registering a solid performance for Stephens was sophomore Kerri Kircher as she hit .250 with eight kills and three total blocks (2 solo, 2 assisted).

Exploding out of the gates, Stephens registered seven of its nine kills from Set 1 within the first 10 points. The Stars jumped out to a 10-5 lead and forced a Lindenwood timeout at the 16-12 mark. Out of the break though, SC served into the net and then watched the Lynx score six straight points. LU-B finished out the frame and recorded five aces in their final 12 serves.

SC had another great start to the next frame and showed several signs of dominance in its 25-15 second-set victory. Teammates Kerri Kircher and Samantha Phegley led the way on offense with a combined five kills. In addition, libero Suhey Campos, who had a match-best 23 digs, closed out the set with a service ace and a kill on a well-placed free ball.

It was evident that both teams were hungry to break the 1-1 tie throughout the third set. In all, the game had three lead changes and was tied on 11 different occasions. All knotted up at 18-18, the Lynx had one last push and went on to score eight of the last nine points.

The fourth set was also tightly contested. Early on, the two squads traded points and were tied at 9-all. LU-Belleville then cranked out 10 points in 11 rallies to create enough of a cushion. The Stars chipped away at the lead to narrow the gap to three points, but that was as close as they would get.

SC concludes its four-game homestand on Thursday with yet another new member to the AMC – St. Louis College of Pharmacy. Coinciding with the Thursday evening contest will be the Stars’ Field Day in which the Stephens community will be celebrating the launch of a new athletics brand.



Ravens Overwhelm Stephens Volleyball in Straight-Set Victory

Benedictine College played solid defense all night, hit .310 for the match

September 11, 2014

Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Stephens College volleyball team dropped a 3-0 sweep to Benedictine College (Kan.) on Thursday evening, as the visitors from Atchison, Kan., won by set scores of 25-17, 25-19, 25-13. The Stars dropped to 4-3 overall, while the visiting Ravens found their way back to .500 and improved to 6-6.

Benedictine set the tone in the first set with an overall hitting percentage of .300 and 15 kills. The Ravens developed a four-point cushion at the 7-3 mark and never allowed SC to get closer than that.

The second set represented the best opportunity to rebound and steal a set from the talented Benedictine squad. The Stars tied the match on five separate occasions including 15-all, however, BC put up five straight points and put the game out of reach. Highlighting the Stars’ best frame of the match was junior Madison Reale with four kills and freshman Darby Jones with three. Stephens recorded a team-best 13 kills and .190 attack percentage in Set 2.

While the Stars stayed away from hitting in the negatives, they were outmatched in the third and final set. At one point, the Ravens rattled off nine points in 10 rallies including eight kills and one service ace.

Leading the Stars on offense was rightside hitter Madison Reale [7 kills, 5 digs, 2 blocks] and freshman middle hitter Halan Mann [6 kills, .417 hitting %]. The Ravens were effective returning serves, as they held Stephens without a service ace for the first time this season.

The Stars will return to the court on Tuesday (Sept. 16) for its conference opener against new AMC member Lindenwood University – Belleville. Game-time is set for 7 p.m.



Volleyball Stars Sweep Past Central Christian College of the Bible, 3-0

Freshman MH Halan Mann leads the way with 12 kills, two aces and one block

September 9, 2014

Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Stephens College volleyball team picked up a 3-0 sweep on Tuesday evening, defeating Central Christian College of the Bible, 25-23, 25-13, 25-13.

With the win, the Stars improve to 4-2 on the year and are now winners of four of the past five matches. The Saints of Moberly, Mo., fall to 1-1.

Head volleyball coach Rose Obunaga switched up the lineup on Tuesday to begin Set 1 and started five freshmen along with junior Emily Manczuk. Falling behind early in the frame, Stephens jumped back ahead and led by as much as seven (19-12). The Stars withstood a late surge from the Saints and closed out the set, 25-23. Several of the freshmen got in on the scoring action, including Halan Mann (4 kills), Shay Wilkerson (4 kills), Danielle Craven (3 kills), Tylar Grant (2 kills) and Rachael Ramirez (1 kill, 1 ace).

In the second set, the veterans got there chance to shine and made the most of it. The Stars had 16 kills on 36 swings, committing just four errors. The .333 attack percentage was a match-best and Stephens rattled off 11 of the final 15 points scored. SC won handily, 25-13.

Offensively, the Stars had a solid third set at the service line as the team combined for six aces. Freshman middle hitter Halan Mann was one of the players that highlighted the frame. The Blue Springs, Mo., native soared above the net with four commanding kills and added a pair of service aces to her stat line. On the day, Mann led the Stars with 12 kills on 25 swings.

Other leaders included Danielle Craven with a .750 hitting percentage and 23 assists, and Suhey Campos with 19 digs.

Stephens continues a four-match homestand on Thursday with Benedictine College (5-6, 1-0 HAAC) visiting Silverthorne Arena at 7 p.m. The Ravens recorded back-to-back sweeps in their two previous matches.



Stars Lose Five-Set Nailbiter to Bethel, Recover with 3-1 Win Over U. of Saint Mary

Stephens finishes the weekend with three wins, one loss to improve to 3-2 on the season

September 6, 2014


Box Score

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Landing in a similar situation to Friday’s first match, the Stephens College volleyball team (2-2) was forced into a fifth set after what was a great start for the Stars. SC fell in a close one to Bethel College, 25-15, 19-25, 14-25, 25-20, 15-6.

Other than a tie at 4-4, the Stars took command of the first set and cruised to a 25-15 win. During Set 1, Stephens was led by freshman outside hitter Tylar Grant (4 kills) and sophomore Yonne Nasimiyu (3 kills). The team also applied enough pressure at the net to hold the Threshers to a -0.059 hitting percentage.

Unfortunately, after a dominant first set, the Stars struggled to keep the momentum after the break. BC jumped out to an early 5-1 margin and despite three ties, the Threshers never surrendered the lead. Bethel won 25-19 behind a seven-kill performance from #28 Katie Neira.

The Threshers led the entire third set, holding Stephens to a .100 hitting percentage, meanwhile serving up a match-best 14 kills.

Falling behind 2-1, the Stars needed to regroup and that’s exactly what they did. SC rebounded with an impressive .325 attack percentage and 18 kills for a 25-20 victory in Set 4.

The fifth and final set was rather lopsided as Bethel played error-free with seven kills and one error compared to the Stars who committed eight errors and recorded just five kills.

The trio of Nasimiyu, Madison Reale and Kerri Kircher led the team in kills with nine apiece. Kircher had a productive day at the net as well with four solo and one assisted block.


Box Score

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Stephens closed out the Avila Invitational on a strong note earning a 3-1 victory over University of Saint Mary, 25-19, 25-17, 23-25, 25-16.

Stephens middle hitter Kerri Kircher led all players with 16 kills on 25 swings for an remarkable .520 hitting percentage. The sophomore from Richmond, Ind., also played tall at the net against the Spires, accounting for four of the Stars’ eight total blocks -- 2 solo, 4 assisted.

Statistically, Stephens had too much firepower for the winless Saint Mary team (0-5, 0-0 KCAC). In addition to hitting .199 for the game, the Stars recorded 14 service aces. Four players recorded more than one ace from the service line including Tylar Grant (5), Halan Mann (3), Suhey Campos (3) and Madison Reale (2).

Down by as much as six in the third set, Stephens fought back and evened things at 23-23. Spires’ top hitter Shannon Anderson (13 kills) then knocked down back-to-back points and prevented the Stars from winning in straight sets.

Hungry for a tiebreaker set, USM hung tough in the fourth set and knotted the set at 19-all. However, Stephens had more gas left in the tank and rattled off four quick points with two kills from Halan Mann, a Samantha Phegley service ace and a Yonne Nasimiyu kill.

A trio of Stars had double-digit digs to pick up the slack for the Stars’ defense. Freshman libero Suhey Campos led the way with 12, followed closely behind by Taylor Edwards and Danielle Craven with 11 apiece.



Stephens College Volleyball Captures Two Wins on First Day of Avila Invitational

The Stars defeated Bethany in five sets (3-2) and finished the night with a 3-0 sweep of Oklahoma Wesleyan

September 5, 2014


Box Score

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Stephens College registered its first win of the season following a marathon match with Bethany College on Friday afternoon at the Avila University Eagle Invitational. Four Stars recorded double-digit kills to push SC past the Swedes in five sets, 25-19, 25-27, 25-21, 20-25, 20-18.

Stephens got out front with a 25-19 win the first set thanks to a match-high in hitting percentage (.310) and kills (18). The two teams went the distance in the second frame, but Bethany squeaked out the win and evened the match.

In Set 3, the Stars battled back from a 6-1 deficit and managed their lead at the 14-13 mark. BC knotted the game at 18-18 before Stephens rattled off seven of the next 10 points.

Bethany controlled most of the fourth set and won 25-20 to force the tiebreaker set. Normally the first to 15, the Stars and Swedes duked it out in the fifth and final set. Stephens held a 14-10 advantage heading into match point, but again Bethany wouldn’t go down without a fight. Trading points from 14-14, Stephens finally put the game away with back-to-back kills from Madison Reale and Yonne Nasimiyu.

Sophomore Kerri Kircher led the Stars in kills with 17 to go along with her team-high 2.5 blocks. Senior captain Samantha Phegley had a strong match, notching a triple-double statistically with 14 kills, 16 digs and 34 assists. Joining Kircher and Phegley in double-digit kills was Nasimiyu (14) and freshman Halan Mann (11).

On the defensive front, freshman Suhey Campos carried the backline with 22 digs.


Box Score

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Stars picked up where they left off and jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead over Oklahoma Wesleyan in the 4 p.m. matchup. The Eagles, who entered the match with a record of 6-2, traded points with the Stars up until 15-15. It was then that Stephens rattled off two straight kills by the duo of Nasimiyu and Reale. The Stars forced an OWU timeout at 20-16 and held off a late run to win 25-23.

In the second set, Stephens had to overcome its worst hitting percentage of the day (.093) and continued to battle with a tough Oklahoma Wesleyan attack. The Stars were unable to build a lead larger than four, but took Set 2 after an OWU service error by Nicole Merchen.

Both squads had their best sets of the match in the third frame, hitting above .300. SC surrendered the lead just once in Set 3 at the 1-2 mark and didn’t look back from there. The Stars’ offensive attack came through big time with a match-high 15 kills and a .361 attack percentage.

Highlighting the straight-set victory was sophomore MH Kerrri Kircher, who led the team with 11 kills, two solo blocks and a .417 hitting percentage. Adding to the attack was freshman Halan Mann with a team-best .538, seven kills and 2.5 blocks, and freshman Darby Jones with five kills and a .400 attack percentage.

Tomorrow, the Stars will take on Bethel College (Kan.) at 8 a.m., followed by a 12 p.m. finale against University of St. Mary (Kan.).



Central Methodist Sweeps Stars in Volleyball Regular-Season Opener

Sophomore outside hitter Yonne Nasimiyu leads Stephens with 6 kills

Box Score

September 3, 2014

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Stephens College volleyball team was swept in straight sets by Central Methodist in the 2014 opener at Silverthorne Arena on Wednesday. The visiting Eagles took down the Stars, 25-10, 25-19, 25-21 to improve to 3-4 on the season.

CMU distanced itself from the get-go with its deep bench and height advantage.

“With Central Methodist’s height, they were hitting on top us,” head volleyball coach Rose Obunaga told the media during postgame interviews. “We’re still trying to learn how to play against the top block.”

The Eagles opened Wednesday’s match with an uncontested 25-10 win, but the Stars began to settle down and made a push. Offensively, Stephens played well and hit in the positives each set. With its highest attack percentage of the night (.133), the Stars fell 25-19 in the second set.

SC remained within reach in the third set, but couldn’t get enough traction steal a set from the Eagles. CMU finished the match with a 25-21 victory.

Sophomore Yonne Nasimiyu led the Stars with six kills and the top hitting percentage (.294). The outside hitter from Nairobi, Kenya, also added two solo blocks and one service ace. Other Stars that recorded kills on the evening included Madison Reale (5), Samantha Phegley (4), Halan Mann (4), Kerri Kircher (3), Tylar Grant (2) and Darby Jones (2).

Despite dropping its season opener in straight sets to CMU, Stephens volleyball will have several things to build on entering the weekend.
On Friday and Saturday, the Stars will be participating in the Avila University Eagle Invitational in Kansas City, Mo.



Tylar Grant of Springfield, Mo., Joins Talented 2014 Recruiting Class

May 22, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Stephens College head volleyball coach Rose Obunaga continues to bolster her roster with young talent including the addition of Tylar Grant, who will bring experience and versatility at the net.

The Springfield, Mo., native was a three-year varsity letterwinner for Annie Zimmerman and the Parkview High School volleyball team. While on varsity, Grant earned playing time and started as a left-side, right-side and middle hitter. As a senior, the 5-foot-5 athlete led the Vikings at the net with 35 blocks. Following her senior season, Grant was selected to participate in the Grin Action Classic All-Star volleyball tournament.

In addition to playing basketball as a freshman and sophomore, Grant also played club volleyball in the offseason with Xrossfire Volleyball (Tami Murphy) and Club Bear (Barry Wheeler).

Academically, the 2014 Parkview grad was a four-year honor roll student and was a member of the Missouri High School Volleyball Coaches Association (MHSVCA) Academic All-State volleyball team four years in a row.

Around the community, she was a member of DECA, served as a volunteer volleyball coach for a middle school league and has logged more than 60 tutoring hours.

Tylar, the daughter of Marcel Emobla and Annie Grant, intends to pursue a degree in event planning & management with a minor in marketing.



Stars Add Blue Springs South Up-and-Comer Halan Mann for 2014

April 30, 2014

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo.Halan MannStephens College head volleyball coach Rose Obunaga is beginning to build a solid recruiting pipeline in the Kansas City area. Blue Springs South (Mo.) High School senior Halan Mann recently announced that she will continue her volleyball career with the Stephens College Stars in 2014-15.

Mann, a 5-foot-9 outside hitter/defensive specialist, burst onto the volleyball scene this past season at Blue Springs South. In her first and only season on varsity, the senior became an immediate leader for the Jaguars. As team captain, Mann was second on the team in kills (179) and finished the season with a .193 hitting percentage. The breakout senior season earned her several awards, including Suburban Big 6 all-conference honorable mention, all-district first team and Examiner all-area second team. At the end of the season, she also received the Blue Springs South ‘Best Teammate’ Award.

Prior to her stint on varsity, Mann played two seasons on the JV squad for coach Jane Lapour. In 2011, she was named JV Player of the Year.

Mann also has experience at the club level, playing in Kansas City for the likes of Highlands Performance VBC, Invasion VBC and most recently with the Sandshark VBC.

Away from the court, Mann is a honor roll student and is involved in several extracurricular activities. During her time at Blue Springs South, she was involved with Debate, Mudthrowers, FCCLA, DECA and FBLA.

Halan, the daughter of Chris and Laura Mann, plans to study biology during her time at Stephens College.



Outside Hitter Darby Jones to Join Stars' Volleyball Program

April 29, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Mo.Darby JonesStephens College head volleyball coach Rose Obunaga recently announced the pledge of Staley (Mo.) High School senior Darby Jones, who will join the Stars’ program this fall.

Recruited as an outside hitter, Jones helped Staley to a conference championship along with a first-round district victory over Liberty North in 2013. That same season, Jones and the Falcons upset previously undefeated and Missouri Class 4 champions Lafayette (Wildwood).

Prior to her senior year on varsity, the 5-foot-6 athlete was a starting outside hitter on both the freshman team and JV squad as a sophomore and junior.

During the past three offseasons, Jones has competed for Highlands Performance Volleyball Club coached by John Hamann, Marie Gieger and Brick Owen.

Outside of volleyball, Jones is a Staley honor roll student and spent time volunteering at both the YMCA and American Royal.

Darby, the daughter of David and Erin Jones, plans to study graphic design while attending Stephens College.



Setter Rachael Ramirez Inks with Stephens College Volleyball

April 28, 2014

LAWRENCE, Kan.Rachael RamirezLast week, Stephens College head volleyball coach Rose Obunaga announced Rachael Ramirez, a Lawrence (Kan.) High School senior, as the newest addition to the 2014 recruiting class.

Competing at Lawrence High as a freshman and sophomore, Ramirez opted to play club volleyball for the remainder of her high school career. The past three years, she has played for Southwind Rising, a Junior Olympic club out of Kansas City. While Ramirez has experience at both right-side hitter and setter, she will arrive in the fall as a setter for the Stars’ volleyball program.

In addition to playing for Southwind Rising coaches Max Vorhies (2012-14) and Kimmie Kreeger (2011-12), Ramirez also spent a season playing with KC Explosion in 2010-11.

At Lawrence High, Ramirez started at right-side hitter for the freshman team, while also earning a starting spot and team captain for the sophomore squad.

Off the court, Ramirez is an honor roll student and received her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) license in 2013.

Rachael, the daughter of Andy and Julie Ramirez, plans to major in graphic design at Stephens College.



Volleyball Stars Add Winnetonka Duo - Suhey Campos and Danielle Craven

April 17, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Mo.Suhey Campos & Danielle CravenStephens College head volleyball coach Rose Obunaga secured the commitments from Winnetonka High School teammates Suhey Campos and Danielle Craven on Wednesday. The Stars gained a pair of talented athletes who have played the past four years together at Winnetonka and the Phoenix Storm volleyball club.

Suhey Campos, a 5-foot-2 defensive specialist, was a three-year starter on varsity for the Griffins. At the high school level, she played her first two seasons at libero and then shifted into a defensive specialist role as a junior and senior for varsity coach Jeff Fogel.

During the 2011-12 and 2012-13 club volleyball seasons Campos and Craven helped lead the Phoenix Storm to back-to-back regional championships.

Outside of athletics, Campos is an honor roll student and was a member of several Winnetonka organizations including Student Council, Student Ambassadors and Broadcast Journalism. At Stephens College, Campos plans to major in marketing with a minor in fashion communications.

Danielle Craven, a 5-foot-4 setter, headed down an similar path. As a freshman, the Kansas City, Mo. native was a starter on the Winnetonka JV team. The next three seasons, she earned a starting spot on the varsity team at the setter position. In 2013-14, Craven was voted team captain in her final season at Winnetonka.

Off the court, Craven has earned an academic letter and was involved with Junior Assembly. At Stephens College, she plans to major in biology.



Lamar CC Transfer Kandace Cook to Join Stephens Volleyball in Fall

April 9, 2014

COLUMBIA, Mo.Kandace CookStephens College head volleyball coach Rose Obunaga recently announced the pledge of Lamar Community College transfer Kandace Cook, who will join the Stars’ program later this fall. A native of La Junta, Colo., Cook comes to Stephens with two years of volleyball eligibility remaining.

Recruited as an outside hitter/defensive specialist by Obunaga, Cook will have a chance to impact the volleyball program with her strong defensive presence. At Lamar Community College, the 5-10 athlete played a limited role as a freshman, but burst onto the scene last season when she averaged 2.82 digs per set.

Cook played in 33 matches as a sophomore and registered double-digit digs in 17 contests. On three different occasions, Cook had 20+ digs, including two that were in four-set matches.

At La Junta High School, she was an all-state first team pick for coach Jaclynn Schreivogel and earned Most Valuable Offensive Player and Player of the League (3A) as a senior. Additionally, Cook was named all-state honorable mention her sophomore and junior years. The three-year varsity letterwinner was a middle hitter/blocker and setter for the Tigers.

Outside of sports, Cook has been a standout student and member of the community. Prior to attending Lamar CC, the four-year honor roll student graduated 12th in her class. On top of that, she received both a high school diploma and an Associate of Science degree. Cook has volunteered with the Hi-Teens Community Group, Pawsitive Impact, Girls in the Middle, and was also an ambassador and resident advisor at Lamar Community College.

Kandace, the daughter of Annette Cook-Davis, plans to major in biology, while pursuing a minor in event management at Stephens College.



Volleyball Stars Land Prep Standout Shay Wilkerson of Lima, Ohio

April 9, 2014

LIMA, OhioShay WilkersonStephens College head volleyball coach Rose Obunaga recently announced the commitment of Shay Wilkerson, a senior at Shawnee High School. As a member of the Stars’ volleyball program, Wilkerson will start out as a middle hitter with the ability to shift to the outside.

The 5-10 athlete from Lima, Ohio was a key contributor on offense for Shawnee High head coach Amy Knight, particularly the past two seasons. As a team captain her junior and senior year, Wilkerson hit .188 and totaled 341 kills (2.15 k/s). She was also a force to be reckoned with from the end line, serving up 150 aces.

Defensively, the three-year varsity letterwinner totaled 202 digs and 67 blocks. As a sophomore, she helped her team to a volleyball sectional championship and earned MVP honors.

During the offseason, Wilkerson spent three seasons as a varsity cheerleader and also trained with and played for the Trailblazers (Ginger Stahr) and Oiler Attack (Brittany Roth) volleyball clubs.

Around the community, Wilkerson is involved with children’s ministries for Cornerstone Harvest Church and is a volunteer activities assistant at Shawnee Manor. In the classroom, she was an honor roll student all four years.

Shayauna Wilkerson, the daughter of Shawndale Wilkerson and Dyan and Douglass Scott, plans to major in fashion merchandising with a minor in business.



Stars' McConnell Named Daktronics-NAIA Volleyball Scholar-Athlete

December 6, 2013

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Stephens College volleyball graduate student Jessica McConnell has been named a 2013 Daktronics-NAIA Volleyball Scholar-Athlete, joining a list of 391 student-athletes across the nation, the NAIA announced Friday (Dec. 6).

In her time at Stephens, standout athlete Jessica McConnell has excelled both in sports and academics, and this year is no different for the graduate student. With no basketball eligibility remaining, McConnell had her sights set on helping coach as a graduate assistant and playing one final season of softball in the spring.

But with a need for extra practice and bench players, head volleyball coach Rose Obunaga utilized McConnell's athleticism and inserted her into the lineup on several occasions this fall.

By the end of the season, McConnell saw action in 23 sets and 16 matches. The Edwardsville, Ill. native managed to record eight digs, two kills and one service ace in her role coming off the bench.

This marks the first Daktronics-NAIA Volleyball Scholar-Athlete award that McConnell has received, although she has garnered the Scholar-Athlete honor twice in basketball (2012, 2013) and once in softball (2013).

In order to be nominated by an institution�s head coach or sports information director, a student-athlete must be a junior academically and maintain a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.

To learn more about the Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete award, click here.

2013 Daktronics-NAIA Women's Volleyball Scholar Athletes - PDF



Five Stephens Volleyball Players Earn AMC Postseason Honors

Freshman libero Tanya Avington becomes third Star in as many years to gain AMC honorable mention status

November 16, 2013

ST. LOUIS – Five members of the Stephens College volleyball team received postseason honors the American Midwest Conference announced on Saturday. Freshman Tanya Avington headlined the awards by earning all-conference honorable mention, while a quartet of Stars earned spots on the AMC Academic All-Conference team.

Avington continues the line of Stephens volleyball players to be named All-AMC Honorable Mention, joining Megan Sheffield (2010, 2011) and Kelsie Byrd (2012). The libero from Houston, Texas had a spectacular debut season for the Stars. She reached double-figure digs 19 times, and successfully dug up 20+ attacks in four matches.

With her performance in the first two matches of 2013, Avington earned All-Tournament honors at the Missouri Valley College Viking Invitational. On the season, Avington registered a team-best 346 digs and had the third-most service aces (19). Within conference, the first-year libero stepped up her game ranking second among AMC schools in digs/set (3.5).

Representing Stephens College on the Academic All-Conference team were sophomores Madison Reale and Emily Manczuk, senior Jenna Zmyslony and graduate student Jessica McConnell.

Fifty-eight AMC volleyball players received the accolade, which recognizes student-athlete achievements in the classroom. In order to be eligible for the conference honor, student-athletes must be in at least their second term of attendance and have a minimum grade-point average of 3.0.

2013 AMC Volleyball All-Conference Team (PDF)
2013 AMC Academic All-Conference Recipients (Fall Sports)



Stephens Volleyball Swept by Lyon in Final Match of 2013

Stars' middle hitter Alyssa Beavers posted a career-high hitting percentage (.727) in the 3-0 loss

November 9, 2013

Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Stephens College middle hitter Alyssa Beavers posted a career-best .727 attack efficiency, but it wasn't enough as the Stars fell to Lyon College, 28-26, 25-23, 25-20, Saturday (Nov. 9) at Silverthorne Arena.

With the loss, Stephens finished its 2013 season at 6-24 overall and 1-10 in American Midwest Conference (AMC) play. The visiting Scots moved to 4-7 in conference and secured a birth to next week's AMC Volleyball Tournament.

The first set was back-and-forth with six lead changes and 12 ties. Following a kill by Samantha Phegley, the Stars took the lead at 19-18 and Beavers scored in three of the next four rallies to take a 22-19 advantage. The Scots battled back and blocked a Yonne Nasimiyu attack to clinch the 28-26 win in a marathon first set.

Stephens built its first five-point lead at 13-8 following a service ace by sophomore Emily Manczuk. However, the momentum was halted as Lyon erupted for six points during the next seven rallies. After relinquishing the lead to the Scots, the Stars tied the match at three different points, 17-17, 19-19 and then again at 23-23. Lyon's Carson Ward came up big, putting down a kill and her third service ace of the set for a 25-23 victory.

The Scots never trailed in the third set, jumping out to a 6-1 lead, which was powered by five kills and a service ace. The Stars moved within three, but that was the closest they would get in the final set.

Lyon setter Ferrin Macon (5) and Carson Ward (4) spearheaded the Scots' dominant serving with a combined nine service aces on the afternoon.

Beavers, who started off the first and second sets a perfect 6-for-6 on attacks, finished the match with a team-high nine kills. The freshman from St. Louis, Mo. also had a team-high four blocks (2 solo, 2 assisted) and two service aces.

Setter Samantha Phegley registered her 11th double-double of the season with 21 assists, while libero Tanya Avington led all players with 15 digs.



Stars Come Up Short in Hard-Fought Battle with Williams Baptist

Freshman Kerri Kircher continued her streak of offensive success with 19 kills in four sets

November 8, 2013

Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. – In its second-to-last match of the season, the Stephens College volleyball team took Williams Baptist (Ark.) down to the wire and nearly forced a tiebreaker set. However, a comeback bid by the Stars (6-23, 1-9 AMC) was ultimately spoiled by WBC's 27-25 win in the fourth set. The Eagles (20-8, 5-5 AMC), who swept Stephens in the first meeting of the year (Oct. 19), squeezed out a 25-22, 23-25, 25-21, 27-25 victory on Friday (Nov. 8).

Right from the get-go, the two teams battled point-for-point, setting the tone for the rest of the match. In the first set alone, there were eight ties and four lead changes. Each time the Stars got within a point, Williams Baptist had an answer. The Eagles grabbed the 1-0 advantage with a 25-22 win in the first set.

Plagued by attack errors, Stephens College was faced with a 7-3 deficit early on. Slowly but surely, the Stars worked their way back into the game and took the lead back at 9-8. If the eight ties in the first set wasn't enough, the second set was highlighted by 19 ties and 10 lead changes. Down by one, the Stars received an offensive boost from middle hitter Kerri Kircher and Madison Reale with three consecutive kills to even the match at 1-1. Kircher and Reale had six kills apiece and hit above .500 for the set.

Despite a valiant effort by the freshman duo of Kircher and Alyssa Beavers (5 kills apiece), the Eagles notched a .303 team attack percentage in the third set and had just three attack errors compared to the Stars' seven. Williams Baptist held off a late surge by the Stars to win 25-21.

Stephens was digging out of another hole as the Eagles rattled off six points in a row to start the fourth frame. Down by as much as six, the Stars went on a 6-2 run midway through to tie the set at 18-18. The rest of the way was a back-and-forth battle. The Stars kept the fans on the edge of their seats smacking down kills in three different match-point opportunities for the Eagles. Inopportunely, setter Samantha Phegley was pegged with a controversial lift call to conclude the match.

Kircher led all players with 19 kills on .286 hitting for the night. Setting her up for several beautiful kills was junior captain Samantha Phegley, who tallied 50 assists and 17 digs.

Also reaching double-digit kills on Friday was Alyssa Beavers with 14 and Madison Reale with 11. Defensively, four Stars had 10+ digs, including libero Tanya Avington who had a match-high 24.

Both teams were successful at the net, as Williams Baptist edged Stephens in total blocks, 12-8.

The Stephens College volleyball team will finish its 2013 season on Saturday (Nov. 9) with one last home match at Silverthorne Arena. The Stars take on Lyon College at 1 p.m.



Benedictine-Springfield Slips Past Stars in Five-Setter

Stephens yielded the final two frames after holding a 2-1 advantage on the road

November 2, 2013

Box Score

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Stephens College volleyball team went the distance for just the second time this season, however, Saturday's match at Benedictine University-Springfield ended differently for the Stars. This time around, the Stars surrendered a 2-1 lead and lost the five-setter 21-25, 25-19, 25-19, 21-25, 13-15.

In the season opener, Stephens went five sets with Southwestern (Kan.) and outlasted the Moundbuilders, 19-25, 25-14, 25-20, 17-25, 15-9.

After missing nine matches in the middle of the season due to injury, freshman middle hitter Kerri Kircher seems to have returned to form as she led the Stars with 20 kills on .441 hitting. Kircher also had a productive day at the net, issuing two solo blocks and a pair of assisted blocks.

Two other Stars joined Kircher with double-digit kills including sophomore captain Madison Reale with 14 and freshman Yonne Nasimiyu with 10.

Stephens setter Samantha Phegley led the team defensively with 11 digs and dished out 40 assists to record her ninth double-double of the year.

Despite putting up their third-best team attack percentage (.258) of the season the season, the Stars fell at the hands of the Bulldogs, who had just one AMC win entering today's contest.

With the loss, Stephens College dropped to 6-22 overall and 1-8 in AMC action. The Stars return home to Silverthorne Arena for their final two matches welcoming Arkansas schools Williams Baptist College and Lyon College on Friday and Saturday.



Stars Lose Critical AMC Matchup on Road at Hannibal-LaGrange

The Stephens College volleyball team (6-21, 1-7 AMC) hung with Hannibal-LaGrange all three sets, but fell 25-23, 25-22, 25-18

October 31, 2013

Box Score

HANNBIAL, Mo. – On Thursday, the Stephens College volleyball team missed on an opportunity to move up in the American Midwest Conference standings, losing at Hannibal LaGrange (Mo.), 3-0. The Stars dropped the first two sets by a combined five points, falling to the Trojans 25-23, 25-22, 25-18.

With a win against Hannibal-LaGrange, Stephens would have moved into a two-way tie for ninth and one step closer to a clinching a spot in the AMC postseason tournament. Now, the Stars are on the outside looking in with a 1-7 conference record with three matches remaining.

Taking advantage of Trojan mistakes and building on the momentum from early offensive success, the Stars developed a four-point lead at 12-8. HLGU chipped away at the Stars' margin, tied the game at 13-all, and remained in front the rest of the way.

A combined effort in the second set kept the Stars within reach of evening the match. Freshmen Alyssa Beavers and Yonne Nasimiyu had three kills apiece, while Kerri Kircher added a pair and libero Tanya Avington scored two clutch service aces. Despite posting a match-best in kills (10), the Stars fell short in a 25-22 decision.

Stephens again jumped out to a lead in the earlygoing, but couldn't hold off the Trojan attack. HLGU finished the night with a 34-27 advantage in the kill category and hit .221 compared to the Stars' .044 attack efficiency.

Nasimiyu led Stephens in offense with eight kills on .313 hitting to go along with four digs, two assists and a service ace. Right behind Nasimiyu was Beavers with seven kills, while also contributing two assisted blocks.

In addition to three aces from the service line, libero Tanya Avington also had a match-high 11 digs.

The Stars will play their last regular-season away match on Saturday (Nov. 2) in an AMC contest with Benedictine University-Springfield at 1 p.m.



Stephens Captures First AMC Win on Volleyball Senior Night

The Stars defeated Harris-Stowe State (25-21, 25-13, 25-13) on Monday evening

October 28, 2013

Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. – After playing a front-loaded league schedule that included three teams ranked in the NAIA Top 25, the Stephens College volleyball team finally celebrated its first American Midwest Conference (AMC) win this season with a 3-0 sweep of Harris-Stowe State University. With the 25-21, 25-13, 25-13 victory on Senior Night, the Stars improved to 6-20 overall and 1-6 in AMC play.

The win snaps a seven-game losing streak at home, a stretch that consisted of seven 3-0 losses.

Despite jumping out to a 3-1 lead in the first set, the Stars fell behind by as much as five and were unable to reclaim the lead until the 19-18 mark. Both Stephens (.290) and Harris-Stowe State (.286) had virtually the same hitting percentage, but it was the 15 kills and three aces that powered the Stars to a 25-21 victory. Freshman middle hitter Alyssa Beavers hit an impressive .667 with six kills on nine swings in the first set.

By the start of the second stanza, the Stephens squad found its groove and gradually worked its way up to a 12-point margin by the end of the set. Several Stars contributed offensively as the team totaled 16 kills, including Madison Reale (5), Kerri Kircher (4), Beavers (3), Samantha Phegley (2), Emily Manczuk (1) and Jenna Zmyslony (1).

The momentum carried over into the final frame as Stephens scored eight consecutive points to begin the set. HSSU chipped away at the lead and was within six at one point (16-10), but that was the closest the Hornets would get.

Beavers led all scorers with a career-high 14 kills. She also hit above the .500 mark for the third time this season. Joining Beavers with double-digit kills was freshman middle hitter Kerri Kircher (11).

It was also fitting that the Stars' lone senior - Jenna Zmyslony - made a significant contribution on her Senior Night, recording five kills, five digs, and a pair of back-to-back service aces in the first set.

Setter Samantha Phegley was one assist shy of her season-best 42 assists, while adding three kills and eight digs to the mix. Libero Tanya Avington led the Stars defensively with 11 digs.

The Stephens volleyball team will travel to Hannibal-LaGrange on Halloween Thursday and Benedictine-Springfield on Saturday (Nov. 2) before returning to Silverthorne Arena for two final regular-season contests.



Dominant Park Offense Shines in 3-0 Sweep of Stars

Stephens College volleyball was no match for the 14th-ranked Pirates, who hit .442

October 26, 2013

Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Facing one of the top offenses in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), the Stephens College volleyball team was out-matched in Saturday's meeting with No. 14 Park University. The Pirates, who improved to 28-4 and 7-1 in the American Midwest Conference (AMC), won in convincing fashion, defeating the Stars 25-8, 25-6, 25-8.

Although the Stars were able to limit the nation�s No. 2 attacker Wanessa Siqueira (4.65 kills/set) to just eight kills, the Pirates found several other options on offense to go to. One of those was middle blocker Lauren Purdy, who finished with a match-high 12 kills on 18 swings and a .667 hitting percentage.

In the first set, Park jumped out to a 12-2 lead behind four service aces from libero Juliana Barros. The Stars put together a string of three kills to bring the game within eight, but that was the closest they would get to the Pirates.

A combination of Park's strong attack and careless errors by the Stephens offense contributed to an 11-0 start. Out of a Star timeout, the Pirates gave up a point to via service error, but then rattled off eight more points to build an impressive 19-1 lead. Freshman Kerri Kircher ended that run with a kill assisted by Samantha Phegley. No. 14 Park closed out the set with a 25-6 victory.

The Pirates put together another strong offensive performance in the third set with 15 team kills and a match-best .519 attack efficiency. It was too much for the Stars as they managed just four kills on 21 attempts in the 25-8 loss.

Both middle hitters for Stephens College, Kerri Kircher and Alyssa Beavers, had positive hitting percentages, but lacked the opportunities as the Stars struggled to cleanly retrieve Park's attacks. Kircher led the Stars with six kills.

Setter Samantha Phegley had a team-high 13 assists and eight digs to go along with one block assist.

Wrapping up a four-game homestand, the Stars return to the court on Monday (Oct. 28) as they face AMC foe Harris-Stowe State at 7 p.m.



Stars Edged by Westminster in "Spike for the Cure" Match

The Stephens College volleyball team came up empty in Sets 2 and 3, both of which went beyond the required 25 points

October 24, 2013

Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Donning pink uniforms for its "Spike for the Cure" match, the Stephens College volleyball team (5-19, 0-5 AMC) was edged by NCAA Division III Westminster College (12-10, 7-5 SLIAC) in three sets on Thursday (Oct. 24). The visiting Blue Jays started off the evening with a commanding 25-15 win, but squeaked by the Stars in the next two sets 26-24 and 29-27 to complete the sweep.

Plagued by 10 attack errors and a -.031 hitting percentage in the first set, the Stars struggled to stay within reach of Westminster. After going up 12-6, the Blue Jays maintained at least a 6-point margin the rest of the way and finished the set with a 25-15 victory over Stephens.

In set two, the Stars were paced by sophomore Madison Reale's seven kills on 14 swings. Additionally the team as a whole had its best hitting numbers of the night at .263. With set point at 24-23, Stephens was unable to capitalize and saw Westminster's set-attack combo of Kayla Reeg to Lexi Collier come through big. Collier slammed home three straight kills and finished the 26-24 game with a .833 attack efficiency.

Looking to stay alive in the third stanza, the Stars engaged in another lengthy battle. Several players pitched in throughout the marathon set, including Alyssa Beavers (5), Yonne Nasimiyu (4) and Samantha Phegley, who combined for 12 of the Stars' 15 kills. At the net, the Stars blocked back five points as freshman middle hitter Kerri Kircher was in on four (1 solo, 3 assisted). Stephens also registered three aces between freshmen Tanya Avington and Taylor Edwards. The Stars certainly had their chances to lock up a win with three separate set points, but surrendered three attack errors in the last five rallies, losing 27-29.

Junior setter Samantha Phegley had one of the best all-around performances for the Stars on Thursday as she dished out 29 assists, hit .462 with seven kills, had nine digs and two assisted blocks. Reale led the team in kills (9), followed closely behind by Beavers with eight.

The Stephens College volleyball team will be back in action on Saturday (Oct. 26) in a conference showdown with 14th-ranked Park (Mo.). The home match at Silverthorne Arena is set for a 1 p.m. start time.



William Woods Hands Stephens Volleyball 3-0 Defeat

Stars struggle to hold off the Owl attack in second and third sets, fall 21-25, 14-25, 15-25

October 21, 2013

Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Stephens College volleyball team (5-18, 0-5 AMC) was swept by the William Woods Owls (13-18, 7-0 AMC) on Monday night at Silverthorne Arena. The loss leaves the Stars in search of their first league win, while the Owls remain perfect in AMC action at 7-0.

Stephens hit .183 for the match, while William Woods� .433 hitting percentage was one of the highest for a Star opponent this season. The Owls also out-blocked Stephens 8-1 and out-dug the Stars 51-41.

Freshman outside hitter Yonne Nasimiyu came alive in the first set for the Stars, tallying eight kills on 14 swings. The Stars and Owls opened the match battling point-for point, tying the frame six times by the 11-11 mark. William Woods maintained a narrow advantage the rest of the way and escaped with a 25-21 victory.

From there on out, the visiting Owls, who had three players with double-figure kills, never trailed. In set two, William Woods was firing on all cylinders, posting 18 kills and a team attack percentage of .500, while holding the Stars to a .097 clip and a match-low seven kills. The Stephens volleyball squad yielded a stretch of six straight points, which increased William Woods' lead to 11. The Owls took the second set 25-14.

It was a mistake-ridden third set for the Stars as they surrendered 14 points to the Owls on errors. William Woods notched five of their eight blocks in the third stanza. Freshmen middle hitters Alyssa Beavers and Kerri Kircher had three kills apiece in the set.

Individually, all nine players who saw action in Monday's match hit in the positive. Nasimiyu led the Stars with 11 kills, while two others had seven or more kills: Kircher (9) and Beavers (7). Junior setter Samantha Phegley registered her second consecutive double-double and eighth of the season with 23 assists and a team-high 11 digs.

The Stars are back in action on Thursday, Oct. 24 as NCAA Division III Westminster College (Mo.) comes to Silverthorne Arena for a 7 p.m. match. In conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Thursday's contest will be the Stars' annual "Pink" match. The volleyball team will be donning exclusive pink uniforms and hope to raise money for a local cancer center in Columbia. We encourage all in attendance to come decked out in pink.



Stars Pick Up Fifth Win, Lose in Elimination Match

Stephens defeated Midway College (Ky.) before losing 3-0 to eventual STLCOP Tournament champion Williams Baptist

October 19, 2013

ST. LOUIS – The Stephens College volleyball team wrapped up the St. Louis College of Pharmacy Tournament with another win-loss combination on Saturday (Oct. 19). The Stars added a W to the win column by defeating Midway (Ky.) in a 9 a.m. elimination match, followed by a loss in straight sets to eventual tournament champion Williams Baptist (Ark.).

Freshman middle hitter Alyssa Beavers was named to the STLCOP All-Tournament Team after a productive weekend in her hometown of St. Louis. Beavers totaled 38 kills, eight blocks (4 solo, 4 assisted), three service aces and had a .342 attack efficiency in four matches over the weekend.

With a pair of victories and losses at the invitational, the Stars improved their record to 5-17. The team will play its sixth match in five days on Monday with an AMC matchup against William Woods (Mo.).

Stephens 3, Midway 1 (Box Score)
Saturday's first match was highlighted by the Stars' aggressive serving, which proved to be unstoppable. Against Midway, Stephens smashed its previous season-best in services aces with a total of 15.

Samantha Phegley, Emily Manczuk and Yonne Nasimiyu each recorded two service aces apiece and helped the Stars to a 25-18 win in the first set.

Down in the second set, Stephens narrowed the gap with a nice run of points by Beavers, who recorded three kills and a solo block in six rallies. The Stars knotted the ballgame at 16-16 with a service ace from Madison Reale, but the Eagles distanced themselves and captured a 25-20 set victory.

The Stars rebounded nicely with a strong offensive performance in the third, hitting .382 as a team. Reale and defensive specialist Taylor Edwards led the way with five kills apiece. Nasimiyu and Beavers also added three kills to their respective totals.

Following the 25-16 win in the third set, the Stars kept up the pace en route to a 25-12 decision in the final frame.

Beavers paced the Stars with 13 kills and a .435 hitting percentage and was followed closely behind by Reale with 12 and a .263 attack percentage. Setter Samantha Phegley dished out 40 of the Stars' assists. Defensively, four players notched double-digit digs, including 21 from libero Tanya Avington.

Williams Baptist 3, Stephens 0 (Box Score)
With less than 30 minutes between matches, the Stars encountered a fresh Williams Baptist squad. The Eagles, who visit Silverthorne Arena on Nov. 9 for an AMC matchup, played an error-free match and had recorded 41 kills with just six attack errors.

In set one, the two teams traded points early, but WBC took advantage of Stephens miscues and built a 19-11 lead. The Stars staged a late comeback and brought the game within four, but lost 20-25.

The second set was eerily similar as Stephens grabbed a one-point lead at the 4-3 and 5-4 marks. But again, Williams Baptist made a run midway through the set to jump ahead by nine points (19-10). Powered by a .667 hitting percentage, the Eagles won Set #2, 25-18.

Unfortunately, the third and final set wasn't much better for Stephens as WBC scored the first point and prevented the Stars from gaining any traction or lead for that matter. Down by 13, the Stars made another late push, but fell 19-25 to the Eagles.

Taylor Edwards, a 5-foot-6 freshman, rose to the occasion against Williams Baptist with a season-high seven kills, three aces and .545 hitting percentage, while Alyssa Beavers and Madison Reale tied for a team-high eight kills.



Stephens Volleyball Earns Split on Day 1 of STLCOP Tournament

The Stars defeated Harris-Stowe State before losing in straight sets to Oakland City University

October 18, 2013

ST. LOUIS – Stephens College snapped its six-game losing streak with a win over Harris-Stowe State in the opening round of the St. Louis College of Pharmacy Volleyball Tournament on Friday (Oct. 18). The Stars, however, couldn't complete the sweep and dropped a 3-0 decision to a strong Oakland City (Ind.) squad.

Friday's match between Harris-Stowe State and Stephens was the first of two meetings in 2013. The Hornets will visit Silverthorne Arena later this season for a match that will factor into the AMC standings.

With the split, the Stars moved to 4-16 overall. They will square off with Midway (Ky.) in an elimination match on Saturday morning at 9 a.m.

Stephens 3, Harris-Stowe State 0 (Box Score)
Sophomore Madison Reale and freshman Alyssa Beavers powered the Stars offensively in the first set, with five kills and three kills, respectively. The Hornets held the lead once (9-8) and tied the game three different times, but Stephens pulled away late to win 25-19.

The Stars made things more difficult for HSSU in the second, hitting a match-best .240, while the Hornets registered a .000 hitting percentage. Additionally, Stephens went ahead 4-1 in the earlygoing and never allowed the Hornets to take the lead. Beavers led the Stars in the second set with four kills and helped the team to its largest margin of victory at 25-14.

The positive momentum for Stephens carried over into the final stretch as the Stars began Set #3 with a 6-0 run. Maintaining the lead throughout, Stephens wrapped up the match with a 25-16 victory. For the second set in a row, Beavers led the team in scoring, this time with three kills, two consecutive service aces and a solo block. She finished with a match-high 10 kills and .400 attack percentage.

Oakland City 3, Stephens 0 (Box Score)
The 12-2 Lady Oaks put their best foot forward in the first set, rounding up 17 kills for an impressive .464 hitting average. Meanwhile, Stephens had just nine kills on .156 hitting. OCU claimed set one, 25-16.

In the second frame, a string of offensive miscues doomed the Stars as the team combined for 14 errors. It took just 40 rallies for Oakland City's win, as it defeated Stephens 25-15.

The Stars' best chance at making a comeback was the third set. Despite a slow start, the Stephens College volleyball team inched its way back into the game and pulled with one at the 17-18 mark. Madison Reale and Alyssa Beavers teamed up for 10 kills in the third set, but it wasn't enough as the Stars lost 22-25.

Reale registered her second double-double of the season with a team-high 10 kills and 10 digs. The Lady Oaks had two players with double-digit kills, including #13 Kaebra LaGrange, who hit .800 for the match with 12 kills and zero errors on 15 attempts.



Stars Hang Tough with NCAA DII Fort Hays State, Lose 3-0

Despite loss, Stephens registers best offensive performance since Avila win (Sept. 27)

October 17, 2013

Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Although Stephens College volleyball (3-15, 0-4 AMC) dropped its sixth match in a row, the team was able to take away several positives from its meeting with NCAA Division II opponent Fort Hays State. The large squad from Hays, Kan. locked up a 25-19, 25-17, 25-23 victory over the Stars, but not without a fight from the home team.

"The girls worked really hard today and all three games were close," said second-year head coach Rose Obunaga. "I thought they got into the game and learned how to play against a big team like Fort Hays State. From the game today, I think we will proceed to tomorrow's matches with high spirits and ready to play Harris-Stowe State and Oakland City."

In the first set, FHSU opened up the match with a 5-1 run and continued to pile on the kills. The Tigers pushed forward with their biggest lead of the day at 23-13. The Stars then made a surge of their own with five straight points (23-18), but it was too little, too late. Fort Hays State finished with its 19th and 20th kills to take the set 25-19.

Despite losing by its biggest margin in Set 2, Stephens College was in control of its own destiny at the midway point. The Stars went ahead 13-12, however, FHSU picked up points in nine of the next 10 rallies. Behind a .355 attack percentage, the Tigers claimed the second set 25-17.

The Stars fell behind early in the third set, but were able to regroup at the time that mattered most. A pair of kills by freshman Alyssa Beavers, who hit .333 for the match, and one from sophomore Emily Manczuk helped knot the game at 18-all. Taking advantage of a string of Tiger miscues, Stephens went up 21-19, but managed just one kill the rest of the way. The Stars dropped Set No. 3, 23-25.

As a team, the Stars hit .115 for the match, which was the best offensive output since their home-opening win against Avila (Mo.) on Sept. 27. Fort Hays State recorded 47 kills compared to Stephens' 32. The Tigers were also quite successful at the net with six blocks on the evening.

Individually, freshman Yonne Nasimyu led the Stars with eight kills, while Manczuk, Beavers and sophomore Madison Reale picked up six kills apiece. Junior captain Samantha Phegley was efficient from her spot at setter as she registered a double-double with 28 assists and 12 digs. As usual, libero Tanya Avington led the team with a match-high 15 digs.

On Friday, the Stars will travel to the St. Louis College of Pharmacy Tournament where they will take on Harris-Stowe State (Mo.) in a non-conference matchup at 4:30 as well as an 8:30 match with Oakland City (Ind.).



Stephens Drops Pair of Non-Conference Matches to Benedictine, Haskell

Stars come away empty in their Friday trip to Lawrence, Kan.

October 11, 2013

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Stephens College volleyball team dropped a pair of non-conference matches to Benedictine (Kan.) and Haskell Indian Nations (Kan.) Friday at Haskell's Coffin Sports Complex.

Playing without their top-two middle hitters, the Stars were unable to find any rhythm offensively. The team was swept in each match and dropped to 3-14 overall on the season.

Stephens will have nearly a week to prepare for its next slated match. The Stars welcome NCAA Division II Fort Hays State University to Silverthorne Arena on Thursday, October 17 at 7 p.m.

Benedictine 3, Stephens 0 (Box Score)
Although Stephens claimed the first point of the game, Benedictine scored the next four and maintained the lead throughout. Freshman Yonne Nasimiyu led the offense in Set #1 with four kills and zero attack errors. The rest of the Stephens team, however, combined for three kills, which was not enough to combat the Ravens' match-high 14 kills. Benedictine took the first set, 25-14.

Behind a solid team effort, the Stars build an eight-point lead and carried momentum all the way into the 22-14 mark. During the stretch, Madison Reale paced the team with five kills and two service aces. Just as quickly as the Stars created their eight-point margin, they also saw it disappear. The Ravens scored in 13 of the next 16 rallies to win 27-25.

The two teams traded points in the earlygoing of Set 3, but Benedictine broke a 12-12 tie and wore down the shorthanded Stars. The Ravens finished out the match with a 25-16 victory.

Nasimiyu led the team in kills (10) and hitting percentage (.364), while Reale had three of the Stars' service aces for the match. Defensively, all eight of the Stars got in on the action with two or more digs. Setter Samantha Phegley also had a productive outing at the net recording three blocks (2 solo, 1 assisted).

Haskell Indian Nations 3, Stephens 0 (Box Score)
Fatigued from the previous match, the Stephens College volleyball went into survival mode against the Indians. Haskell, who was celebrating Homecoming Weekend, secured the 25-17 victory in front of its loud crowd.

The Stars came out shaky in the Set #2 and lost a rather quick one to the Indians, 12-25. Looking to rebound from a lopsided second frame, Stephens College hung with the home team for all 48 rallies, but was defeated in a close 25-23 decision. It marked the fifth consecutive contest in which the Stars lost in three sets.

Overall, Stephens came up with just 24 kills on 115 attempts, compared to the Indians' 28. For the match, the Stars combined to hit .009 with 23 attack errors, while Haskell played with less errors (15) and hit .135 on the evening.

Four players (Nasimiyu, Reale, Zmyslony, Edwards) tied for team-high in kills with five apiece, while setter Samantha Phegley dished out 20 assists. For the second time on the day, freshman libero Tanya Avington led the Stars in digs, this time with eight.



Stars Fall in Straight Sets to No. 15 Missouri Baptist

Stephens couldn't overcome a dynamic offensive attack from the visiting Spartans

October 7, 2013

Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. – A strong showing from sophomores Madison Reale and Emily Manczuk was not enough for Stephens College volleyball, as the Stars were swept by 15th-ranked Missouri Baptist University, 18-25, 8-25, 17-25, on Monday (Oct. 7) at Silverthorne Arena. The sophomore duo combined for 15 of the Stars' 26 kills and helped keep the team from hitting negative on the night.

With the loss, Stephens falls to 3-12 overall and 0-4 in American Midwest Conference action, while Missouri Baptist won for the 20th time in its last 21 matches. The Spartans improved to 20-1 on the season and remains undefeated (7-0) in league play.

Missouri Baptist, who entered the contest ranked fifth in the nation in kills per set (13.87) and ninth in hitting percentage (.270), finished well over its average in both offensive categories as the team recorded 45 kills and hit above .400 in each set.

The beginning of the match saw 11 ties and four different lead changes, but the Spartans prevailed in the later half of the first set. They carried their momentum into the second stanza hitting a whopping .483 with zero attack errors, while the Stars notched a match-low seven kills.

Stephens got off to a good start in the third set holding the lead at the 10-9 mark, however, the No. 15 team in the nation cranked out nine straight points and didn't look back.

Reale had a team-high eight kills for the Stars, and also added three assists and nine digs to her stat line. Manczuk followed closely behind with seven kills and a .357 hitting percentage. Libero Tanya Avington registered the most digs of either team with 11 on the evening.

The Stephens College volleyball team is back on the road this Friday (Oct. 11) with a pair of matches in Lawrence, Kan. against Benedictine (Kan.) and Haskell Indian Nations (Kan.). The Stars will play back-to-back matches at 5 and 7 p.m.



Stephens Volleyball Suffers 3-0 Loss at Home to Peru State

Stars lose second consecutive match in straight sets, fall to Bobcats, 25-21, 25-15, 25-13

October 4, 2013

Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Playing without freshman Kerri Kircher, one of team's top offensive weapons, the Stephens College volleyball team fell in straight sets to Peru State College (Neb.) on Friday (Oct. 4). Following a back-and-forth first set (25-21), the visiting Bobcats won the next two with ease, closing out the match with scores of 25-15 and 25-13.

In Set 1, several players contributed offensively as the Stars jumped out to a 10-7 lead with kills from Yonne Nasimiyu, Alyssa Beavers, Jenna Zmyslony and Madison Reale. The two non-conference opponents then traded points and were tied on four separate occasions before the Bobcats took the lead for good at the 15-16 mark.

The Stars couldn't find any traction in the second set and totaled 12 errors. Meanwhile, Peru State played a clean game, outhitting the Stars .321 to .000.

Despite a quick pair of points for Stephens in the third set, there was no stopping the Bobcats. The visitors from Nebraska hit an astonishing .519 There was no stopping the Bobcats in the third frame as the visitors from Nebraska hit an astonishing .519 and committed just two errors.

Outside hitter Yonne Nasimiyu, who moved inside with the absence of the injured middle Kerri Kircher, led the team in hitting with a .308 attack percentage, while also contributing five kills, nine digs and two blocks. Setter Samantha Phegley recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 22 assists and 10 digs. Upperclassman Madison Reale led the Stars with seven kills on 24 attempts.

The Stephens College volleyball team continues its four-game homestand with an AMC match against 15th-ranked Missouri Baptist on Monday (Oct. 7) at 7 p.m.



No. 22 Columbia College Overpowers Stephens in 3-0 Sweep

The Cougars invaded Silverthorne Arena with a convincing 25-8, 25-11, 25-15 victory over the Stars

October 2, 2013

Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Plagued by errors and the inability to jumpstart the offense, the Stephens College volleyball team was swept at home by No. 22 Columbia College on Wednesday. With the loss, Stephens falls to 3-10 overall, while the Cougars improved to 13-4.

In the season's first meeting between the crosstown opponents, the Stars scored their first-ever set victory over Columbia College. Despite a 3-1 loss to then-No. 2 Columbia, Stephens stayed competitive throughout the match and gave the Cougars a scare.

This time around, Columbia College had the hot start. The Cougars put together a 10-2 run to begin the match, however the Stars' errors made up six of those points. Columbia middle hitter Sarah Schwentker had a phenomenal performance in the first set, posting eight of her match-high 14 kills. Stephens was unable to get anything going, suffering a 25-8 defeat in the first frame.

In the second set, the Stars remained in striking distance down by just four at the 10-6 mark, but Columbia seized complete control of the game at that point. The Cougars scored 14 of the next 15 points and eventually won the set, 25-11.

Another fast start for the Cougars ultimately doomed Stephens in the third and final set. The NAIA's 22nd-ranked team built their lead early and finished out the set 25-15.

Stephens College combined for a -.061 attack percentage compared to Columbia College's impressive .466 for the match. Freshman Alyssa Beavers and junior Samantha Phegley were the only Stars to hit above .000 on the night as each recorded three kills. Beavers also had one of two service aces for the Stars. Defensively, libero Tanya Avington led the team with six digs.

Another home match awaits Stephens College on Friday (Oct. 4) as the Stars host Peru State College (Neb.) at 7 p.m. The visiting Bobcats enter Friday's contest with a 12-9 record.



Stars Victorious in Home Opener on Family Weekend; Defeat Avila, 3-1

The Stephens College volleyball defended its home court, winning 25-21, 25-23, 25-27, 25-20

September 27, 2013

Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. – It took four sets on Friday (Sept. 27) for the Stephens College volleyball team to defeat Avila University in the 2013 home opener and debut of the newly renovated Deb Duren Court. The Stars moved to 3-9 overall with their 25-21, 25-23, 25-27, 25-20 victory over the visiting Eagles.

Down early in the first set, Stephens used a monster stretch by freshman middle hitter Kerri Kircher to build a 17-13 lead. Kircher posted six kills in 10 rallies during the run. The Eagles climbed back into the game and just as easily squashed their chances with four errors in the final five points earned by the Stars.

Stephens scored the first point of the second frame and stayed ahead the entire set. At one point, the Stars enjoyed a nine-point lead, although Avila erased the deficit and brought it within one at 22-21. Freshman Alyssa Beavers led the way for Stephens in set two with four kills, including the final point to clinch the set.

With a chance to sweep the Eagles on the line, the Stars traded points back and forth with Avila in the third set. The Stars had match point on two different occasions, but couldn't seal the deal in the 25-27 decision.

Stephens bounced back in the fourth set and took the lead for good after a Madison Reale kill at the 14-13 mark. The Stars finished off the Eagles, 25-20.

Each team played tough at the point of attack as Stephens totaled seven team blocks to Avila's six. The Stars outdug the Eagles 63-52 and also held a 56-37 advantage in kills throughout the match.

Individually, Kircher paced the Stars with a season-high 17 kills and three blocks (1 solo, 2 assisted). Beavers joined Kircher in double digits with 11 kills and a match-best .409 hitting percentage.

Setter Samantha Phegley posted 44 assists, while Yonne Nasimiyu led all players with four service aces. Likewise, Star libero Tanya Avington recorded a match-high 21 digs.

Sporting a perfect 1-0 record at Silverthorne Arena, the Stephens College volleyball team has a tough task ahead as it hosts No. 16 Columbia College on Wednesday (Oct. 2).



Stephens Volleyball Swept by CMU Eagles

Stars lose on the road at Central Methodist University: 12-25, 22-25, 12-25

September 24, 2013

Box Score

FAYETTE, Mo. – For just the third time this season, the Stephens College volleyball team (2-9, 0-3 AMC) dropped a match in straight sets. On Tuesday (Sept. 24), the Stars suffered a 12-25, 22-25, 12-25 loss to Central Methodist University at the Eagles' Puckett Fieldhouse.

A sluggish start for Stephens contributed to the quick 11-3 lead for Central Methodist. The Eagles controlled the remainder of the set behind double-digit kills and 10 errors committed by the Stars. CMU won the first set, 25-12.

Stephens was more competitive in the second frame, holding the lead twice at the 5-4 and 16-15 marks. The Eagles retaliated with a nine-point run of their own and had set-point four different times before closing out the set at 25-22. Sophomore captain Madison Reale paced the Stars in Set No. 2, posting a .600 swing percentage along with six kills and three digs. Freshman middle hitter Kerri Kircher also added three kills and three blocks (1 solo, 2 assisted) to the mix.
In the third set, CMU exploited the Stars' error-ridden night and finished the match with another 25-12 win.

The Stars struggled offensively, recording their second-lowest output of the season with just 21 kills. Category leaders for the match were Samantha Phegley with 16 assists, Reale with eight kills, Yonne Nasimiyu with seven digs, Kircher with four blocks and Alyssa Beavers with one service ace.

Stephens College will look to rebound from the loss with its first home match of the season on Friday (Sept. 27) at 7 p.m. The Stars host Avila University (5-11) of the Heart of America Athletic Conference at Silverthorne Arena.



Stars Snap Eight-Game Skid with 3-0 Win Over Calvary Bible College

Stephens hit an impressive .373 throughout the match to earn its first 3-0 victory in 2013

September 19, 2013

Box Score

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Stephens College volleyball team (2-8, 0-3 AMC) delivered a straight-set road victory over Calvary Bible College on Thursday (Sept. 19), one that also put an end to its eight-game skid. The Stars overwhelmed Calvary Bible College, defeating the Warriors by a score of 25-10, 25-17, 25-12.

From the start, the Stephens team ran like a well-oiled machine, opening up the match with an 8-1 lead. A combination of stout defense and strong offensive play gave the Stars a clear advantage in the earlygoing. Rose Obunaga's Stars combined to hit a match-high .412, which included four kills from freshman Kerri Kircher and a perfect 3-for-3 on kill attempts from senior Jenna Zmyslony.

Calvary Bible College came out with energy in the second game to take an early 4-1 advantage. Gradually cutting into the Warrior lead, Stephens battled back and took control of the set for good at 7-6. Offensively, the Stars were once again led by Kircher, who added another four kills to her total, followed by sophomore Madison Reale and freshman Alyssa Beavers with three apiece.

In the final set, Stephens capitalized on CBC errors to jump out to a familiar 8-1 start. Pacing the Stars in Set No. 3 was a well-rounded performance from freshman Yonne Nasimiyu, who combined for three kills, three digs, one service ace and an assisted block. The Stars established a lead as big as 15 points in the set and clinched the victory at 25-12.

Junior setter Samantha Phegley registered her third double-double on the season with a team-high 22 assists and 10 digs. As a team, Stephens College hit an impressive .373 with just seven attack errors on the day.

The Stars will look to build momentum with their upcoming match against Central Methodist on Tuesday (Sept. 24). In 2012, Stephens played the Eagles on three separate occasions and upset the Fayette, Mo., squad in the third and final meeting.

Following the Stars' match with Central Methodist, the team will enjoy a four-game homestand playing at the familiar confines of Silverthorne Arena for the first time this season.



Road-Weary Stars Come Up Short at Freed-Hardeman

Stephens overpowered in 3-1 loss, drop eighth straight match

September 13, 2013

Box Score

HENDERSON, Tenn. – The young, but talented Stephens College volleyball team couldn't shake its current losing streak, falling on the road to new American Midwest Conference (AMC) member Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.). The Lions outdueled the Stars in four sets, 25-18, 23-25, 25-17, 25-15.

"The players worked hard," said head coach Rose Obunaga. "Just tough luck for us."

The tough luck was evident as Stephens fired off a hitting percentage of .321 in the opening set with 14 kills. Unfortunately, the home squad trumped the Stars' impressive first-set showing with a .478 hitting percentage and just one attack error.

Stephens carried over the strong offensive performance into the second set and tied the match with a 25-23 victory. The Lions took control of the match in set three behind 15 team kills and a 25-17 routing of the Stars.

Another hitting percentage above .400 for Freed-Hardeman sealed the deal and sent the Stars home with their eight straight loss. Following a win in the season opener, Stephens has dropped eight consecutive matches including their first three in AMC play. In the eight previous matches, only two have been straight-set losses, while the other six have been 3-1 decisions.

Freshman Kerri Kircher paced the Stars with a team-high 16 kills, while fellow freshman Alyssa Beavers continues her consistent play with 11 kills and a .556 attack percentage.

Another notable performance came from setter Samantha Phegley, who matched a season-high with 36 assists.

The Stars have two more matches on the road, including Calvary Bible College (Sept. 19) and Central Methodist University (Sept. 24), before their home debut at Silverthorne Arena.



Stars Taken Down in Four by New AMC Member Mid-Continent

Stephens volleyball give up early lead to Cougars, fall to 0-2 in conference play

September 12, 2013

Box Score

MAYFIELD, Ky. – Despite a promising first-set win on Thursday (Sept. 12), the Stephens College volleyball team was unable to fend off Mid-Continent University. The new American Midwest Conference member bounced back from an early deficit and captured the next three sets to win 20-25, 28-26, 25-17, 25-15.

Both the Stars (1-7, 0-2 AMC) and Cougars traded points early in the opening set, but it was the former who took the lead for good at the 16-15 mark. Stephens won by a five-point margin and compiled 12 kills and a .154 hitting percentage compared to MCU's 11 kills and .079 attack rating.

In the second set of the afternoon, Stephens and Mid-Continent went the distance and stretched the game out to 54 total rallies. The Stars had set point opportunities at 25-24 and 26-25, but MCU received two clutch blocks and a kill by Olivia Hoelker to put the set away at 28-26.

The Cougars distanced themselves from the Stars in the third set with a 25-17 victory. In the fourth and final set, Stephens College tied the set at 11-11 in hope of a rally, however Mid-Continent had more gas left in the tank and rattled off 10 consecutive points. They finished off the match with a 25-15 win.

Offensively, the Stars were led by freshman middle hitter Alyssa Beavers, who recorded team-high totals in kills (13) and blocks (3). Both Madison Reale (12 digs, 10 kills) and Samantha Phegley (33 assists, 15 digs) tallied double-doubles for Stephens.

Day two of the Stars' road trip gets underway Friday at 6 p.m. when they meet new conference member Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn.



Stephens Volleyball Makes History in 3-1 Loss to No. 2 Columbia

The Stars picked up their first-ever set victory over the Cougars, winning the first frame 25-23

September 9, 2013

Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Relishing the role as underdog in Monday's (Sept. 9) crosstown matchup with No. 2 Columbia College (5-1, 1-0 AMC), the Stephens College volleyball team (1-6, 0-1 AMC) made plenty of noise on the road at the Arena of Southwell Complex.

For the first time in program history, the Stars claimed a set from the NAIA volleyball powerhouse (25-23). They also accomplished what just two league opponents (Park and Missouri Baptist) did in 2012: avoid straight sets against the Cougars. Despite Stephens winning the first set, second-ranked Columbia erased the 1-0 deficit to defeat the Stars 23-25, 25-23, 25-16, 25-17.

Capitalizing on key Cougar mistakes and kills by freshman Alyssa Beavers and senior Jenna Zmyslony, the Stars developed their biggest lead of the first set at 20-13. Columbia, who entered the contest with a regular-season conference-winning streak of 156 matches, climbed back into the game and knotted it up at 23-23. However, sophomore Madison Reale wanted in on the kill action, scoring the final two points for the Stars.

Playing in their American Midwest Conference (AMC) opener, the two teams traded the lead in the early going of the second frame. The Stars had a chance to secure a second set from the home team, but Columbia roared back with four consecutive points to take the set, 25-23.

The No. 2 team in the nation regained its confidence and overpowered the Stars in the third and fourth sets to claim its 157th straight regular-season conference victory.

It was a true team effort by the Stars on Monday as five different players recorded a team-high for the match. Freshman libero Tanya Avington of Stephens College led both teams with 15 digs. Sophomore Madison Reale had a team-high nine kills. Junior setter Samantha Phegley led the Stars with 16 assists, while freshmen Alyssa Beavers and Kerri Kircher had a team-high in aces and blocks with three apiece.

Stephens volleyball will continue its lengthy stretch on the road with conference matches at Mid-Continent (Ky.) and Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) on Thursday (Sept. 12) and Friday (Sept. 13), repsectively.



Stars Defeated by Missouri Valley, Oklahoma Wesleyan

Stephens volleyball loses last two matches at Eagle Invitational, move to 1-5 on the year

September 7, 2013

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Facing a pair of teams with a combined record of (18-3), the Stephens College volleyball team (1-5) was unable to assemble a win on the final day (Sept. 7) of competition at Avila University's Eagle Invitational. In Saturday's first match, the Stars lost in straight sets to Missouri Valley College. In the latter match, Stephens stayed competitive with Oklahoma Wesleyan, eventually falling 3-1 to the Eagles.

Missouri Valley 3, Stephens 0 (Box Score)
For the second time in less than a week, Stephens had an opportunity to hand Missouri Valley College its first loss of the season. Despite the same outcome, the Stars improved on their first showdown with the Vikings of Marshall, Mo.

Stephens started off much quicker than last week's (7-25) performance in the first set, finishing Saturday's opening frame at 23-25. Missouri Valley College created separation though with a 25-15 routing of the Stars in the set No. 2. The Vikings sealed the victory in the third with a 25-16 win.

Freshmen Alyssa Beavers and Kerri Kircher tied for the team-high in kills (8), while recording two solo blocks each against the Vikings.

Oklahoma Wesleyan 3, Stephens 1 (Box Score)
Against Oklahoma Wesleyan of the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference, the Stars remained close throughout the entire match, winning the third set and taking the fourth beyond the required 25 points.

As a team, Stephens matched up quite well with OKWU. The Eagles finished with a 45-41 advantage in kills, but the Stars registered more aces (7-4) and blocks (12.5-10.0).

Individually, the freshman duo of Beavers and Kircher reached double digit kills with 10 and 14, respectively. Setter Samantha Phegley and libero Tanya Avington both recorded 11 digs in the loss.



Stephens Drops Pair of Matches to KCAC Opponents

Volleyball Stars showing promise in early-season matches against tough opposition

September 6, 2013

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Stars (1-3) had a chance early in Friday's matches with (RV) Kansas Wesleyan University and McPherson College to swing the momentum in their favor, but couldn't gain the upper hand against the two Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference opponents.

"I knew we would be facing tough opponents this weekend. With that being said, I thought we played well even though we lost." Stephens head volleyball coach Rose Obunaga said. "Several coaches have been giving me thumbs up [pertaining to the Stars' potential and skill level]. There is a lot of talent for Stephens this year."

Stephens will wrap up Avila University's Eagle Invitational with a Missouri Valley College rematch and an 11 a.m. meeting with Oklahoma Wesleyan University.

#RV Kansas Wesleyan 3, Stephens 1 (Box Score)
In the 11 a.m. match with KWU, Stephens fell to the Coyotes in four. Shaking off the rust from the first set, the Stars outlasted Kansas Wesleyan in a marathon frame, to take the only set from a team receiving votes in the 2013 Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll.

The Coyotes won sets 3 and 4 with ease to bring their record to an even 5-5 with the win. Individually, junior setter Samantha Phegley had a solid outing against KWU with a .176 attack percentage, to go along with 15 assists and seven kills. Freshman Alyssa Beavers also added five kills, two aces and four blocks.

McPherson 3, Stephens 1 (Box Score)
The Stars returned to the court at 5 p.m. for a meeting with the McPherson College. Stephens came out swinging and took the first set from the Lady Bulldogs, 25-17, but it was all McPherson from there on out.

Stephens was held under 15 points per set until the final frame of the evening as the Stars narrowed the gap to 20-24.

Paving the way for the Stars offensively was Beavers, who hit double-digit kills (12) for the second time this season. The St. Louis, Mo. middle hitter tacked on another five blocks and two aces to the stat sheet. Phegley bettered her first match performance, recording a .500 hitting percentage, 18 assists, five kills, five digs and four blocks.