Southeastern volleyball takes down #3 McNeese to reach first-ever Southland Conference Championship


Troy Allen

SLU players celebrate on the court after advancing to the Southland Conference Tournament Championship game. The team beat HCU in the semifinals on Saturday 3-1 (25-22, 27-29, 25-22, 25-21). (Nov. 19, 2022)

The Southeastern Lady Lions beat McNeese 3-1 to advance to the finals of the Southland Conference Tournament. SLU was led by junior outside hitter Kailin Newsome, who had 23 kill shots. Following her was sophomore outside hitter Cicily Hidalgo with 16 kill shots. 

The Green and Gold improved their overall record to 24-7 (.722 win percentage), with an impressive 13-0 home record. 

“I’m proud more than anything. I’m proud of our team, our effort, and how we play for each other. The kids took care of business and each other today,” head coach Jeremy White said. 

The first set saw a lot of action between both teams. Late in the period, the Cowgirls went up 22-21 after a kill shot. SLU responded with a 4-0 run, giving them a 25-22 win in the set. 

Southeastern found themselves in an early hole during the second outing. They were down 9-4 and gave up four attack errors in the early period. 

After a quick timeout, they were able to tie the game up at 11 apiece. Both teams traded points before McNeese went on a 4-0 run, putting them up 20-15. 

Southeastern responded with a run of their own to tie the ball game up again at 25-25. The Lady Lions then took a 27-26 lead late in the set, their first lead since 2-1. 

Ultimately, SLU lost the set 29-27 after an ace and two attack errors. 

However, the team captured a 2-1 lead in the matchup with a win in the third set. Hidalgo and Newsome led the Green and Gold with some late-game heroics. Together, they were able to aid Southeastern in scoring four out of the last five points. 

Itching for their spot in the conference championship game, the Lady Lions started out on fire in the fourth set. Newsome scored five out of their first six points. As the set went on, Southeastern began to pull away. 

Late into the game, SLU took on a 20-15 lead after a service error by McNeese. The crowd started chanting and screaming, and the Lady Lions fed off of their energy. 

In the end, Southeastern won 25-21 and the overall match 3-1. 

“Playing at home has been great for us, and we’re on a good run. But the postseason is different, and the emotions will be high for both teams. We have to play together like we did today and stay aggressive,” White said. 

On Sunday, Southeastern will look to play against the HCU Huskies. In their matchup earlier this season, the Lady Lions won 3-0. Each set in their win was decided by six points or less. 

Tune into ESPN+ at 2 p.m. to watch the Southland Championship game live.