ST. LOUIS - Saint Louis' middle-blocker tandem of Carly Marcum and Carly Schumacher combined for 23 kills and a .500 hitting percentage in the Billikens' 25-21, 20-25, 25-17, 25-19 victory over Evansville Friday night in the Marcia E. Hamilton Classic at Chaifetz Arena.
The Billikens, who recorded a season-high .247 attack percentage, improved to 4-4 with their fourth win in five matches. Evansville fell to 3-5.
Marcum had a team- and season-high 17 kills and hit .517 (17-2-29). Schumacher collected six kills on 13 swings with no errors for a .462 attack efficiency.
Megan Gilbert and Lauren Baumet contributed 13 and 10 kills, respectively, and Cassie Clarke was a .462 hitter (6-0-13) while directing the offense with 49 assists and adding two solo blocks.
Grace Bonoma registered a season-high 28 digs and was joined in double figures by Andrea Bolt (season-high 13), Anna Church (12), Lindsey Dinkelacker (11) and Clarke (11). The Billikens earned an 89-77 advantage in digs despite a match-high 33 by Evansville's Katie Klages.
Church, the Atlantic 10 Conference's co-leader in service aces, picked up three more.
"I'm proud of our team earning another hard-fought win against a quality opponent," head coach Kent Miller said. "Evansville made us earn our points. There were a lot of long rallies, but we were patient, executed well and came out on top.
"This was a good ball-control match for us, and we passed well," Miller said. "I'm really excited about our setter, Cassie Clarke, and our middle blockers, Carly Marcum and Carly Schumacher, having strong matches. They were a big factor in our success with their performances and emotional leadership."
In set one, Saint Louis held leads of 4-1, 12-8 and 16-11 but couldn't put Evansville away until late in the set. A 6-1 UE spurt tied it at 17, but the Billikens retaliated with a 4-0 run and led by no fewer than three points the rest of the way.
The Purple Aces began to take command of set two with a 6-1 flurry that gave them a 13-9 advantage, but SLU fought back with an 8-4 run to forge a 17-17 deadlock. The Billikens couldn't manage to go on top, however, and Evansville scored the next two points to spark an 8-3 outburst that closed the set and evened the match.
Saint Louis fell behind 3-0 in set three but tallied seven of the next 10 points to take the lead for good at 7-6. Later, a 7-2 run expanded the margin to 17-11, and the Bills maintained a safe lead down the stretch.
Set four featured a 6-0 run that gave the Billikens a 14-9 cushion. Saint Louis built the margin to seven points before settling for the final score.The Billikens continue play in the Marcia E. Hamilton Classic Saturday, taking on Southeast Missouri State at noon and South Florida at 7 p.m.