Senior Alysia Mayes
Oct. 2, 2012
By Bill Ford
CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Southern Illinois volleyball team came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Murray State in five sets Tuesday night in Murray, Ky.
The Salukis (14-3) dropped the first two sets 25-20, 25-23 before storming back to take the final three sets 25-13, 25-18 and 15-11. The win helped SIU to its best-ever record through 17 matches. Also, senior middle blocker Alysia Mayes broke an SIU single-match record with 14 block assists.
SIU couldn’t slow down the Racers’ attack early on. Murray State (3-11) out-hit the Salukis .317 to .192 through the first two sets and posted 33 kills to SIU’s 26.
“I think our skill sets were off. We didn’t come out sharp and ready to compete,” said SIU head coach Justin Ingram. “Murray State put it on us pretty good in those two sets.”
Southern began its comeback with a convincing win in the third set. The Salukis turned up the defense, at one point going on a 12-2 run.
“We defended at a much higher level and put them in situations that they didn’t want to be in,“ Ingram said. “We were slowing them down and forcing them into hitting shots that they didn’t want to hit. “
SIU continued its momentum into the final two sets, taking early leads and never surrendering the lead in either set. The Racers came as close as 12-11 in set 5 before Southern closed the set with three straight points, two on blocks. SIU finished the match with 19 blocks, a season-high.
“We’ll take a win in any capacity. The team certainly fought from being down 0-2. That shows a lot of heart and character,” Ingram said.
Mayes led SIU with a match-high 21 kills with a .366 hitting percentage. She had 16 total blocks with two solos and the record-setting 14 assists. Jessica Whitehead chipped in 15 kills while Laura Thole added 13 kills and three aces. Bailey Yeager led SIU with 20 digs and four aces while Amy Drabant dished up 40 assists.