Outside hitters stand out for Columbia College volleyball team

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 | 9:42 p.m. CST; updated 7:48 a.m. CST, Wednesday, November 10, 2010

COLUMBIA — Vesna Trivunovic is no stranger to completing a kill for the Columbia College volleyball team. But this one was not just any kill.

Set up by a perfect pass from setter Paula Ferreira, Trivunovic leaped for the ball as if someone had given her a boost halfway through her jump. She paused for a moment, uncoiled her body and slammed the ball down with the authority of a slam dunk in basketball.

A split second later, the ball bounced on the other side of the net, not 8 feet from where she first made contact. The crowd, players and even coaches let out a big gasp.

"That was some sort of bounce," Cougars coach Melinda Wrye-Washington said. "I like that."

A voice from the crowd warned Trivunovic to be careful how hard she was hitting the ball. 

Trivunovic couldn't help but smile and laugh.

"That's what brings the energy up," Trivunovic said.

Trivunovic's kill, and many others, helped propel Columbia College to an easy 25-9, 25-12, 25-12 victory over Stephens College on Tuesday in the first round of the American Midwest Conference tournament at Southwell Complex.

While Trivunovic, the conference leader in kills, dominates the left side of the net, Kelly Corkum holds her own on the right side.

Corkum may not deliver near as much power as Trivunovic, but she can still put the ball down quickly.

"Kelly's awesome," Wrye-Washington said. "She's strong, she's tall, she's got length, and she's left-handed. She's everything you want in a right-side hitter."

When she heard her coach heap this praise on her, Corkum could do nothing but flash her trademark smile, ; the one seen after every block and kill she completes.

Trivunovic tallied 16 kills (.583 hitting percentage) and four aces in the match against Stephens, while Corkum added seven kills (.500 hitting percentage), three blocks and one ace.

Wrye-Washington was happy with how her hitters terminated the ball, but didn't want to gloss over the job that the setters and defenders did.

"Everyone has to do their job for that to happen," Wrye-Washington said.

The Stars, whose season ended with a 19-20 record, could not withstand the force of the Cougars hitters.

"They just overpowered us," Stephens coach Shane McAfee said.

The Cougars are scheduled to host Hannibal-LaGrange at 7 p.m. Thursday in the semifinals of the AMC tournament.

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