The Salukis top Creighton for the first time in 10 years Friday night at Davies Gym
Sept. 28, 2012
By Robin Thuringer
CARBONDALE, Ill.-- The Southern Illinois volleyball team topped Creighton Friday night in four sets to defeat the Bluejays for the first time in 10 years.
Creighton held a 19-match winning streak over the Salukis before entering tonights competition.
"We love this victory because Creighton is a heck of a volleyball team," said SIU head coach Justin Ingram. "We are going to try and use this as momentum to help us understand where we are in this conference and use it to springboard."
The Salukis (12-3, 3-2 MVC) topped Creighton (12-3, 3-1 MVC) in four sets in front of a boisterous crowd at Davies Gym. Friday night saw the second-highest attendance in the 35-year history of the facility.
"You get just enough people in Davies and you can't hear anything and when it is in your favor it is tough to play at for an opponent but that is home court advantage and we love the fans and are happy we call Davies home."
Alyisa Mayes captained the Saluki offense recording 16 kills. Jessica Whiteheadfollowed tallying 13 kills.
Freshman Taylor Pippen stepped up for Southern knocking in 12 kills to post an impressive hitting clip of .455. Laura Thole also chipped in 12 kills. On the defensive end, libero Bailey Yeagerposted a team-high 20 digs.
Southern Illinois and Creighton played each other closely in the first set with SIU really breaking away for the first time at 19-17. The trio of Mayes, Whitehead, and Pippen worked the net to put-away kills to inch Southern to close out the Jays 25-21.
The third set was a hard-fought contest between the rival teams. Southern gained momentum off Bailey Yeager'son-point serving. The senior set-up the Salukis to take a five-point advantage midway through the set but the Jays played catch up meeting SIU at 18-18. The teams traded points until SIU broke down the Creighton offense forcing CU to end the set on three consecutive errors.
Both teams struggled to hold an advantage in the fourth set, as the score tied a total of 12 times. Southern took a three-point lead at 16-13 but multiple errors allowed Creighton to go up 18-16.
Southern answered Creighton's powerhouse attackers battling through each point to take the set to match point five times. SIU was relentless closing out the set with kills from Thole and Whitehead. The Salukis came back with a vengeance defending their home court winning the fourth and final set 28-26.
Friday night's win marked Southern's seventh consecutive win at home to remain undefeated on their home court.
"There is no doubt that every win is special and tonight was Creighton and tomorrow it is Drake," said Ingram. `We have work to do tonight so we can extend this win to tomorrow."
The Salukis are back in action tomorrow afternoon, hosting the Bulldogs of Drake at 3 p.m.