ST. LOUIS - Carly Marcum tallied match highs of 12 kills and five blocks Saturday night to lead Saint Louis to a 25-21, 26-24, 25-19 victory over South Alabama in the finale of the Active Ankle Challenge at Chaifetz Pavilion.
The Billikens finished second in the four-team tournament, posting a 2-1 record to improve to 2-4 on the season. South Alabama slipped to 2-4. Southern Illinois won the tourney with a 3-0 record, followed by SLU, Valparaiso (1-2) and South Alabama (0-3).
Cassie Clarke and Lindsey Dinkelacker were named to the seven-player All-Tournament team.
Marcum finished with a .346 (12-3-26) attack percentage. Megan Gilbert hit a sparkling .467, collecting eight kills with just one error in 15 attempts. Gilbert also had four blocks. Dinkelacker and Carly Schumacher contributed six and five kills, respectively, with Schumacher hitting .417 (5-0-12).
Dinkelacker led the Billikens with 13 digs, followed by Clarke (nine), Anna Church (eight) and Grace Bonoma (seven). Lauren Baumet and Schumacher notched four and three blocks, respectively, while Church recorded a match-high three service aces. Clarke dished out 32 assists.
"We're excited that we had a good, competitive tournament and the team played hard," head coach Kent Miller said. "We're disappointed that we dropped a couple of sets along the way that we'd like to have back, particularly in our loss to Southern Illinois. But that's part of the learning experience. We're learning how to compete and play at a high level.
"We had a number of players contribute at a significant level, and we had a particularly good performance by Cassie Clarke," Miller said. "She distributed the ball well and was an important attacker for us at critical times.
"We've had a challenging few weeks, and I'm really excited that our team was able to be loose and play hard this weekend."
Saint Louis trailed 9-7 in the opening set before a 7-1 run gave the Billikens a 14-10 advantage. The Bills couldn't quite pull away, but they turned back South Alabama twice when the Jaguars closed to within a point and went on to claim the set.
Set two featured eight early ties before a 6-1 spurt put SLU on top 16-11. South Alabama chipped away, tying the set at 19 and 22 before taking a 24-22 lead. The Billikens rallied, however, using kills by Dinkelacker and Marcum for a 24-all tie, a Jaguar attack error for a 25-24 lead and a Church service ace for the set victory.
Leading 17-9, the Billikens appeared to have firm control of the third set until a 10-1 flurry put the Jaguars in front 19-18. But a kill by Marcum ignited a 7-0 run that gave Saint Louis the set and the match.The Billikens are back in action Tuesday, Sept. 4, against Bradley in Peoria, Ill. Match time is 7 p.m.