Lee University head volleyball coach Andrea Hudson quickly gave her (22) teams and husband Kevin plenty of credit after reaching another milestone in a career that places her among the best in college volleyball.
The Lady Flames soundly defeated Olivet Nazarene University 3-0 (25-12, 25-17, 25-12) in the second day of play of the annual Lee Invitational. The win was the 700th for Hudson, who is in her 22 year of coaching volleyball at Lee.
The 700-228 mark gives the Lady Flames’ leader a winning percentage of over 75 percent. She ranks fifth among the winningest active coaches in the NAIA. Among those top five, Hudson has coached the least number of seasons. Paul Swanson (Mt. Vernon, Ohio) is in his 30th year and has posted 978 victories. Only Madonna’s Jerry Abraham has a higher winning percentage (.792).
The Lady Flames, ranked No. 3 in the preseason NAIA poll, came roaring back from an upset loss to Indiana Wesleyan on Friday afternoon, to defeat Xavier (La.) for win number 699 and then powered past Olivet in the third match of their four scheduled events during the Invitational.
Again it was the booming net play that set the tone for the 2-1 Lady Flames. As a team Lee recorded a .402 hitting percentage. Marija Zelenovic blasted away with 10 kills and a .563 attack mark. Irene Ojukwu also had 10 slams and a .304 hitting percentage. Paula Martins put down eight kills and was tops for the match with a .636 hitting average. Martins also countered with three service aces.
Camil Martinez was the assist leader with 36. Libby Peigen garnered 12 digs, while Martinez and Ojukwu chipped in with nine apiece. Zelenovic (4) and Nicole Sumida (3) helped dominate play in the blocking department.
LADY FLAMES 3, LINDSEY WILSON 0
Lee (3-1) cooled off somewhat in the hitting department (.321) but Zelenovic (14 kills) and Ojukwu (10 kills) still gave the visiting and 20th-ranked Blue Raiders more than they could handle in the 25-22, 25-15, 25-22 victory. Zelenovic and Ojukwu also had eight digs apiece. Ojukwu rounded out a big day with three blocks.
Martins followed with seven kills and three blocks. Martinez dished off 36 assists and came up with seven digs. Peigen tallied 12 digs and Kayln Helton accounted for five slams and a pair of blocks.
Lindsey Wilson was paced by Kailey Moorhead and Sarah Anderson, both picked up seven kills. Andrea Taylor was the assist leader with 21, while Kristi Hager posted 13 digs.
The Lady Flames will dig deeper into one of the NAIA’s toughest volleyball schedules next week. Hudson takes her club to California to challenge Westmont, Concordia, Vanguard and Biola in the Asics/Wyndam Hotel Labor Day Classic.