Sophomore Taylor Pippen
Sept. 10, 2013
CARBONDALE, Ill.--The Southern Illinois University volleyball team topped Saint Louis University in straight sets during Military Appreciation Night Tuesday at Davies Gym.
The Salukis played a solid game convincingly putting away the Billikens (3-4) 25-15, 25-19, 25-19 to improve to a 3-5 record this season.
"Tonight was a good case of a total performance, we started out strong and we finished strong," said SIU head coach Justin Ingram. "The entire match was great for us."
Southern Illinois took advantage of its home court showing consistency and quickness in the opening set. SIU jumped out early scoring four unanswered points to take a 5-2 lead before going on another monster 8-0 run to take a 13-3 lead. The Billikens couldn't find their rhythm trailing the home team for the duration of the set.
"We were able to put Saint Louis out of their system with efficient serving and that makes it difficult for their left side hitter, I think that is part of the reason SLU struggled," Ingram said.
Taylor Pippen and Jessica Whitehead commanded the lead for SIU in the second set sparking a nine-point spread at the halfway point. The Salukis were able to roll with the momentum and hold their lead over the Billikens for a 25-19 win.
Saint Louis tried to battle back in the opening of the third set responding to Southern's attack but couldn't gain ground. SIU started accumulating points in bunches to pull away from SLU. The Salukis held a .382 hitting efficiency in the final set and was able to record their first home win with a third set final of 25-19.
Sophomore Taylor Pippen was an offensive stud for the Salukis posting 13 kills on 19 attempts to record a hitting percentage of .579. Jessica Whitehead followed with 12 kills while fellow senior Elly Braaten chipped in 11.
"Taylor (Pippen) got going early and set the tone for how Saint Louis was going to defend us," Ingram said. "She certainly earned the kills she got but it is also credit to the back row for getting those sets to her, tonight was a team effort."
Southern Illinois returns to tournament play this weekend when it travels to Huntington, W. Va. for the Marshall Invitational. The Salukis will play a single match against host Marshall Friday, Sep. 13 at 4 p.m. CT, followed by a double header on Saturday, Sep. 14 against Kent State at 9 a.m. and Eastern Kentucky at 4 p.m.