EVANSTON, Ill. - Saint Louis overcame a decisive first-set loss to make things close, but Western Michigan escaped with a 25-15, 26-24, 28-26 victory over the Billikens Friday morning in the opening match of Northwestern's Wildcat Classic.

Lindsey Dinkelacker and Carly Marcum led the SLU offensive attack with 10 and seven kills, respectively. Marcum added a match-high six blocks to help the Billikens (5-6) to an 8-6 edge at the net. Cassie Clarke tallied 24 assists, 13 digs and four blocks, and Grace Bonoma registered a team-high 14 digs. Dinkelacker tacked on eight digs.

Western Michigan (6-4) sprinted to a 5-1 advantage and controlled the opening set throughout to claim a 1-0 lead.

Set two featured 10 ties and five lead changes. The Billikens led by two points on numerous occasions and had a pair of set points at 24-22, but a 4-0 run by the Broncos put Saint Louis in a 2-0 hole.

The Bills gradually pulled away in set three and built a 21-16 lead. Western Michigan tied it at 23 with a 7-2 spurt, but Saint Louis rebounded and held leads of 24-23, 25-24 and 26-25. However, the Broncos fought off all three set points and finished with three consecutive points to win the set and the match.

The Billikens meet Northwestern tonight at 7 p.m. and conclude tournament play against Delaware Saturday at 7:30 p.m.