Senior Laura Thole recorded a career-high 22 kills in Southern's win at Bradley Friday night.
Oct. 12, 2012
By Robin Thuringer
PEORIA, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois University volleyball team spoiled Bradley's homecoming as the Salukis topped the Braves in a five-set contest Friday night, 18-25, 25-17, 25-23, 21-15, and 15-9.
This win marks the first Missouri Valley Conference road win for Southern Illinois in over a year. The last MVC road win for the Salukis came on October 7, 2011 at Indiana State.
"This is a competitive, tough conference and any win on the road is significant," said SIU head coach Justin Ingram.
Senior Laura Thole led the Saluki attack recording a career-high 22 kills. Thole also totaled 14 digs to record a double-double on the night. Alysia Mayes knocked in 20 kills with a .395 hitting clip.
"Laura (Thole) and Alysia (Mayes) no doubt carried us tonight," said Ingram. "They were exceptionally offensive taking great swings at key moments."
Bradley (6-13, 0-8 MVC) took advantage of their home court testing the Salukis in the opening set of the match. The Braves were able to push out ahead of Southern (16-3, 6-2 MVC) quickly and hold onto a small spread throughout the duration of the set. Errors plagued the Salukis creating a deficit they could not rebound from. Southern dropped the first set to Bradley 25-18.
"We were not aggressive with our serving as we have been throughout the season, it halted any momentum we had and we couldn't seem to string points together."
Bradley and Southern kept it close in the beginning of the second set but the Salukis began to pull away after they took the lead at 12-11. Laura Thole and Alysia Mayes put down kills to start to allow SIU to break away from the Braves. Southern Illinois held the lead the remainder of the set to knot the match at a set apiece.
The Braves rallied in the fourth set going on an early 7-0 run to gain a four-point advantage. Southern could not seem to find its rhythm, only taking the lead in the opening of the set. The BU attackers consistently grabbed two points at a time to win 25-21, forcing a fifth set.
Bradley began to run out of steam in the fifth set as the teams traded points until a tie at 8-8. The Salukis then went on a 7-0 run off the serve of freshman Mary Bogdanski and never looked back. Southern closed out the set 15-9 to win the match.
"Mary Bogdanski had aggressive serving that pulled their setter off the net," said Ingram. "We had a good block at the net and set the ball to Laura Thole and she got some big swings in there for us."
Southern will look to win their sixth straight match tomorrow night at Northern Iowa at 7 p.m.