From SFA Athletics
Getting the opportunity to coach in her home state for the first time in her 32-year SFA career, it seemed only fitting for Ladyjack head volleyball coach Debbie Humphreys to lock down her 700th career victory in front of family and friends who helped start her on a lifelong path of volleyball greatness.
SFA’s longest-tenured bench boss achieved her latest incredible coaching milestone by watching her squad dice up Austin Peay using to a .373 attack percentage which helped the Ladyjacks score a 3-0 win that kept the Governors firmly entrenched in the ranks of the winless through 2019. The match was SFA’s second at the Northwestern Under Armour Tournament and helped the Ladyjacks improve to 6-0 in 2019. One of only 11 active NCAA Division I head coaches who have hit the 700 win mark, Humphreys’ milestone victory was a little more memorable than usual as it came in her home state. Flanked by family and friends in the stands, SFA’s 32nd-year head coach penned the latest chapter in a volleyball legacy that stands among one of the greatest of all time.
SET ONE | SFA 25, Austin Peay 19• The lone lead Austin Peay enjoyed in set one of Friday evening’s non-conference showdown came when Chloe Stitt generated a kill for the opening point of the match.• Following that termination, SFA produced seven of the next nine points to jump in front the rest of the way. Corin Evans was responsible for a pair of kills through that surge while Sheretta Hill and Ann Hollas accounted for one apiece.• Another Ladyjack run – this one of the 4-1 variety – was capped by a termination off the mitts of freshman Ariana Pagan and hiked SFA’s edge to 14-7.• That run proved to be instrumental as SFA was forced to fend off a strong rally by the Governors. More kills from Brooke Moore – four to be precise – were the catalyst of a 10-4 surge by the Govs that cut SFA’s lead down to 18-17.• The final stages of the set, however, saw SFA return to form on offense to secure the set. Four different players put forth kills through the Ladyjacks’ 7-2 run to clinch the set.• Set one’s final numbers saw SFA generate a .316 attack percentage – just a shade higher than the .294 mark put up by the Governors.
SET TWO | SFA 25, Austin Peay 17• Taking the fight to the Governors from the get-go, SFA received two terminations from Evans and a pair of rejections courtesy of Hollas to start the middle frame on a 6-1 run.• As it turned out, the Ladyjacks would need that early cushion to stave off Austin Peay’s multiple comeback bids through the set. Moore slammed home a trio of kills, powering a 7-2 run by the Governors that knotted matters at 8-8 and set the stage for a back-and-forth middle segment of the set.• Tegan Seyring put forth a pair of kills during a 3-0 spurt by the Governors which made the score 14-14, but from there it was all SFA.• Making use of its powerful offense, the Ladyjacks closed the set on an 11-3 run to open up a 2-0 lead.
Sheretta Hill, Evans and Taya Mitchell each produced a pair of terminations through that scoring spree and put SFA just one set away from victory.• Finding their groove offensively, the Ladyjacks operated at an attacking clip of .371 while holding the Govs to a mark of just .184. The Ladyjacks committed just a trio of errors while producing 16 kills in the middle frame.
SET THREE | SFA 25, Austin Peay 12• Hoping to force a fourth set, Austin Peay received kills from Moore and Jenna Panning as part of a 3-1 run to begin the set.• The Governors lead, however, was short-lived as SFA took control the rest of the way with a 9-3 scoring spree. Through that run, Daron and Evans slammed home two terminations each and a total of four Ladyjacks generated kills.• Up 10-7 at that point, SFA was merciless in its pursuit of victory. Powerless to stop anything the Ladyjacks had at their disposal, Austin Peay could only watch as SFA closed out the match on a 15-5 run.• Daron fueled the match-clinching surge by hammering down four of her 10 kills and SFA finished the frame with a .448 attack percentage.
KEY PERFORMERS/STATISTICS OF NOTE• Evans paced the Ladyjacks’ attack with an 11-kill, 12-dig double-double.• Daron was a big-time two-way threat in the straight-set win, finishing with 10 terminations and a match-high five blocks.• A highly efficient attacker, Hill totaled eight kills on just nine swings for a sterling .889 attack percentage.• Hollas and Dean dished out 22 and 16 assists respectively while Ariana Pagan came up with 11 of SFA’s 42 digs in the victory.• Moore finished with a match-high 13 kills for Austin Peay, but no other Governor generated more than six.
HEAR IT FROM HUMPHREYSOn SFA’s three wins in two days | “Last night in the match against Loyola we were able to get some of those travel jitters out of the way. Today we had a fresh slate and everyone seemed to have their legs back under them. We have played some really, really good volleyball today. Although we started off a little slow, we were able to make it 14-all and then never looked back against Texas Tech. That match saw us play really good defense and that allowed the offense to start clicking. From there we carried that over to the Austin Peay match really enjoyed one of our best matches of the year from that standpoint.”On the effect SFA’s defense has on its offense | “I can definitely tell you that our defense- which has been good – was even better today. That led to a lot of great offensive opportunities. We executed a game plan almost to perfection against Austin Peay. There are some things they do really, really well. We didn’t allow them to score on any of their unorthodox plays that can cause teams problems if you aren’t prepared for it.”On reaching the 700-win milestone | "Typically I wouldn’t know that those milestones are coming but I did know this year because I remember when we went to the NCAA Tournament last year someone mentioned that if we win a national championship then that would be my 700th win. You do the math from there and think, ‘well, I guess I only need six, then,’ so that stuck out a little bit.On getting the milestone win in Illinois and what it means overall | “The fact that we were able to do it here meant more to me than some of those other milestone. I had family and close friends that came out to watch which made things very special. It’s definitely fun for me – that’s why I continue to do it. I’m very passionate about the sport of volleyball. I feel blessed to have had this opportunity so long and that SFA gave me this opportunity when I was a 23-year-old. All of the players that have come through this program, this was all them. I have never once put on a uniform and went out there to complete. Those wins are for them, all of the assistant coaches who have come through the program and helped make it what it is today.”On facing Northwestern for the second time in two years | "Last year when we faced them they passed really well. I’m expecting them to pass extremely well this year, too, but I don’t think we’ll be as intimidated by the size this year because we have seen a lot of size so far in our non-conference schedule. It’s a battle we’re really excited about. We get an opportunity to come out and potentially get a win against a team that plays in the Big Ten – the strongest volleyball conference in the country.