Sept. 17, 2013
CARBONDALE, Ill.-- The Southern Illinois volleyball team got back on track Tuesday night with a commanding four set victory over Murray State, 25-20, 22-25, 25-10 and 25-11 in front of a packed Davies Gym.
Senior Jessica Whitehead was the spark the Salukis needed to set the tone, as she was virtually untouchable. The senior knocked in 25 kills for an impressive attack percentage of .465. Whitehead worked the Racer defense only committing five errors on her 43 attempts.
Southern Illinois came out hot ready to defend their home court in the first set. The score teetered back and forth in the opening of the set with the score knotting up eight times before the Salukis were able to take control.
"Coming into the match we knew how we handled the small ball,the tip and the roll shot, would determine how we would play and we were able to capitalize on those opportunities," said SIU head coach Justin Ingram.
SIU went on a 5-0 run courtesy of on-point serving from Elly Braaten to lead the Racers 19-14. Murray State was able to claim a few more points before the Saluki outside hitters put away the set for Southern, 25-20.
The Salukis only lapse of the evening came in the second set when the Racer offense was able to out hit Southern with low error. MSU tallied 19 kills for a set high hitting clip of .533. The score tied 10 times before Murray State was able to take the set 25-22.
The final two sets of the match belonged to the Salukis as Southern dominated the court. SIU held the Racers to hitting efficiencies of just .028 and -.023 in the third and fourth sets, respectively.
"We dialed back in, in the third and fourth sets and was able to handle those small opportunities and really convert those into big points," Ingram said.
Prior to the match Saluki Athletics and Saluki Volleyball raised over 200 dollars that will be donated to the American Heart Association.
Missouri Valley Conference play is set to start this weekend as Southern Illinois will travel to Indiana State on Friday for a 6 p.m. match followed by a match on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Illinois State.
"We are excited for conference play to begin and are going to use this win as momentum and look as conference play as a fresh new season starting this Friday."