Senior Laura Thole tallied 16 kills and 14 digs in the Salukis win over SEMO Tuesday night.
Sept. 11, 2012
By Robin Thuringer
CARBONDALE, Ill.-- The Southern Illinois University volleyball team returned to Davies Gym Tuesday night topping Southeast Missouri State in five sets.
The Salukis stretched their win streak to nine consecutive games topping SEMO in their first five set match of the season, 25-17, 22-25, 23-25, 27-25, 15-6.
“The team showed they can fight and want to have success in their attacking rhythms and hit at higher efficiencies,” said SIU head coach Justin Ingram. “They were able to make small plays that essentially at the end of the match was the difference between us winning and not winning.”
The Salukis took an early lead in the opening set but let SEMO reach within one point at 11-10. Bailey Yeager went to the line and SIU began to pull away from the Redhawks scoring five points before Southeast answered back with two. SIU held onto the set winning 25-17.
The second set saw multiple point rallies early for both teams. Southern, again, took the lead but SEMO battled back tying SIU six times. The game was tied late at 17-17 when SEMO put away the Salukis on the attack with six of their last eight points being scored on kills.
“There are some things that SEMO does that takes a while to get used to,” said Ingram. “Their system is quite different than our system and it took us way too long to figure out what they were doing and how to handle the ball comfortably.”
Southern showed resiliency in the fourth set after losing 25-23 in the third. The Salukis gained a seven-point lead over SEMO in the beginning of the set but committed six errors to allow the Rehawks to close the gap. The thrilling set saw 11 tie scores and six lead changes.
The match tied up at 22-22 when Jessica Whitehead knocked in a kill. Southern and SEMO traded errors to tie the game back up. A faulty pass gave SEMO a one-point advantage but Whitehead responded again to tie the score. Laura Thole tipped in the last kill to send the Salukis into a fifth set.
SIU came into the fifth set and dominated the fading Redhawks. The Salukis shutdown SEMO early with seven kills from senior duo Laura Thole and Alysia Mayes. Taylor Pippen and Jessica Whitehead had back-to-back kills to closeout the set and match win for Southern. Southern outhit SEMO in the final set .400 to .000.
Laura Thole finished the night with a double-double at 16 kills and 14 digs.
Defensive specialist Bailey Yeager had 36 digs and two service aces.
The Salukis will begin Missouri Valley Conference play on Friday when they welcome the Sycamores of Indiana State.