Southern opens with Florida Gulf Coast (9 a.m.) and Auburn (4:30 p.m.) on Friday.
Southern is looking to avenge a five-set loss to the Blue Raiders at home in 2013.
Southern will play two top-20 teams (No. 11 Illinois, No. 20 North Carolina) and Long Beach State, who is receiving votes in 38th place.
SIU beat Wichita State 3-2 on Nov. 2, 2015
Dean Torgerson enters his third season as an assistant coach with Saluki volleyball.
Torgerson comes to Carbondale after serving one season as first assistant coach at the University of Evansville.
Prior to his stint at Evansville, Torgerson spent one season as a volunteer assistant coach for Justin Ingram at Arkansas State. Torgerson helped lead the Red Wolves to a 21-10 record and the Sun Belt West Division conference title.
Before entering the collegiate ranks, Torgerson spent two years at the Northshore Assault Volleyball Club in Evanston, Ill. serving as the head coach for the 15-1's team and 14-1's team. Torgerson also served as assistant head coach with both the boys' and girls' teams at William Horlick High School in Racine, Wisc.
Torgerson coached both the men's and women's club volleyball teams at Loyola University Chicago where he was also a student-athlete, leading his team to a second place finish at NIRSA's D-1AA National Championship Tournament in 2008. As head coach of the women's team, he helped the Ramblers to a fifth place finish at the 2009 NIRSA's D-2 National Championship Tournament. Before entering Loyola, Torgerson was named to Volleyball Magazine's Fab 50 list as one of the top senior players in the country.
A native a Racine, Wisc., Torgerson graduated from Loyola magna cum laude with a bachelor's in finance, accounting and sports management in May 2010 and earned a master's degree in sport administration from Arkansas State in 2012.