Salukis down Missouri State 3-1

    Senior Laura Thole tallied 19 kills, two service aces, and eight digs Saturday night.

    Senior Laura Thole tallied 19 kills, two service aces, and eight digs Saturday night.
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    Oct. 20, 2012

    Box Score |  Photo Gallery 

    By Robin Thuringer

    CARBONDALE, Ill.-- The Southern Illinois volleyball team topped Missouri State Saturday night in four sets to record their 10th home win of the season.

    Southern Illinois (17-5, 7-4 MVC) opened the night winning the first set 25-21. The Salukis shook off a 15-25 loss in the second set to win the final two sets 25-18, and 25-23. The win gave SIU redemption after falling to the Bears (11-12, 5-6 MVC) earlier this season.

    "We knew what to expect because we had played them before so we had an idea coming in and knew it was going to be a tough match," said SIU head coach Justin Ingram. "The plan was to work to get them out of their system and once our serve started hitting those certain zones it made it difficult for them."

    The Saluki attackers came out aggressively in the first set outhitting Missouri State .312 to .056. Southern jumped out early holding a comfortable lead at 11-4 but let a series of errors allow the Bears to gain ground. Laura Thole and Jessica Whitehead knocked in two kills apiece to push SIU to hold another multiple-point lead. Missouri State failed to respond to Southern's offense. The Salukis took the opening set 25-21.

    Southern had to recover after letting the Bears rally to win the second set 15-25. Missouri State controlled the set not allowing the Salukis to hold a lead or tie.

    The Salukis bounced back with a convincing win in the third set. The set began with the teams scoring two points at a time to force six ties and two lead changes. Southern's momentum picked up with aggressive serving from Rachael Brown that resulted in a 4-0 run. MSU's Christine McCartney recorded a kill but SIU took back the ball to go on three-point unanswered run to win the set 25-18.

    The final set of the night was a barnburner as Missouri State and Southern Illinois tied the match 11 times with the final tie being 23-all. Davies Gym became amplified as Alysia Mayes punched in a kill to send herself to the line at match-point. The Salukis scored on the serve to win the set and match 25-23.

    "We won those rallies tonight because of great effort and that is always incredible to see and is what should happen," said Ingram.

    Alysia Mayes and Taylor Pippen each posted an impressive hitting clip of .333 to lead the team. Senior Laura Thole tallied 19 kills, two service aces, and eight digs on the night. Jessica Whitehead chipped in 14 kills.

    Southern's backcourt was defended by Bailey Yeager, Mary Bogdanski, and Rachael Brown as they recorded 15, 11, and 10 digs, respectively.

    Southern will be back on the road next weekend traveling to Drake on Friday, and Creighton on Saturday.