Taylor Pippen anchored the Saluki offense recording a career-high 21 kills off 31 swings for an impressive .548 hitting efficiency.
Oct. 12, 2013
By Robin Thuringer
CARBONDALE, Ill.-- The Southern Illinois volleyball team came out looking as sharp as it has all season on Saturday night, defeating Northern Iowa in four sets. SIU had not beaten the Panthers, home or away, since the 1993 season.
The Salukis (10-10, 5-3 MVC) completed their weekend sweep on Saturday night at Davies Gym topping UNI 25-18, 25-19, 20-25 and 25-23 to break a 40-match losing streak against the Panthers.
"We are physical group of athletes and there is no doubt that we have the capability to beat anybody and we showed that tonight," said SIU head coach Justin Ingram.
Southern Illinois started the match off hot and looked like a team on a mission. The game was fast-paced right out of the gate as SIU took a 6-1 lead. UNI (13-6, 5-2 MVC) responded scoring three points to come within one. Southern took back the reins going on an unanswered 6-0 run to distance themselves from the Panthers. Northern Iowa chipped in points here and there but was never able to take the lead from SIU as the Salukis put away the first set, 25-18.
The two teams traded points in the opening set, taking the score to a tie at 12. Southern found success off the on-point serve of Leah Edgerton, scoring five consecutive points to take a 17-12 lead. Again, UNI crept back up to bring the score within two points at 19-17 but SIU denied the Panthers a lead for the remainder of the set. The Salukis knocked in two kills and followed that up with a 4-0 run to end the set 25-19.
Set three was a wild ride from the first serve as the score tied eight times with four lead changes. Southern saw its best set offensively, posting a .342 hitting clip and finding 15 of its 20 points off kills. The score flip flopped late into the set as the Salukis only trailed UNI by two points. Meg Viggars punched in a kill to give SIU its final point of the set at 20-22 but UNI's Courtney Kintzel was able to attack three consecutive balls to help Northern Iowa to its only set win of the night.
"I give a lot of credit to Northern Iowa, they stuck it out in a tough environment," said Ingram "Tonight we were able to hang tough and I am really proud of that. "
Sophomore Taylor Pippen anchored the Saluki offense recording a career-high 21 kills off 31 swings for an impressive .548 hitting efficiency. Seniors Jessica Whitehead and Elly Braaten recorded 13 and 12 kills, respectively.
"We believed coming that we were going to win this match and that is always where it has to start."
The Salukis will continue Missouri Valley Conference play when they travel to Evansville on Friday, Oct. 18 for a 7 p.m. match.