Jessica Whitehead recorded a team-high 25 kills.
Nov. 2, 2013
CARBONDALE, Ill.—The Southern Illinois University volleyball team showed resiliency Saturday night battling through five sets to defeat Wichita State for the first time since 2002.
Wichita State held a 23-match win streak over the Salukis before entering tonight’s competition.
Southern Illinois (13-12, 8-5 Missouri Valley Conference) won the first two sets by scores of 25-23 and 25-21. Wichita State (21-6, 10-3 MVC) forced a fifth set by winning sets three and four by scores of 25-19 and 25-21.
“We pulled this out because the girls stayed disciplined to our game plan,” said SIU assistant coach Todd Nelson. “They got back to the way we know how to play volleyball."
The Salukis entered the match looking to bounce back from their loss on Friday night. Southern did just that controlling the tempo of the first two sets against the 2012 Sweet 16 team.
WSU and Southern traded points in the opening of the first set. The Salukis came back to tie it at 13 and used a 4-0 run to go in front 17-15. The Shockers cut the lead to 24-23 after kills from Chelsey Feekin and Ashley Andrade, but a final kill from sophomore Taylor Pippen secured the first set win for SIU.
The second set saw the score tie 10 times before Southern was able to settle in, scoring six of the final seven points to hold off WSU 25-21. The Salukis were solid offensively in the second set recording a .306 hitting percentage.
Wichita State came back after the set break with energy and immediately challenged the Saluki system, not allowing Southern to take a lead. A 4-0 run by the Shockers made the score 19-9, but SIU used a 4-0 run off the serve of Elly Braaten to pull the game to 19-13. SIU would get no closer than five the rest of the way as the Shockers won 25-19.
“Wichita is a good team and a good team is going to make adjustments and adapt,” said Nelson. “Our aggressiveness left us a little but we eventually got back to taking aggressive swings and being active at the net and having terrific serves.”
SIU jumped out in the fifth set taking a 9-5 lead prompting a Wichita State timeout. The Shockers regrouped and were able to put four points on the board. Southern followed the WSU rally by answering with three consecutive points to swing the set back in its favor. Southern Illinois was able to hold on to win the set 15-11, to defeat Wichita State for the first time since 2002 and the first time in Carbondale since 2001.
Once again, Jessica Whitehead captained the Saluki offense knocking in 25 kills on 46 attempts for a hitting percentage of .391. Elly Braaten and Taylor Pippen each added 12. Hannah Kaminsky dished out 50 assists while Alex Rivera recorded a team-high 23 digs.
“We have had some big wins this season, beating UNI and Missouri State on the road. It definitely builds confidence,” said Nelson. “Coming in day in and day out and practicing to the level that we saw tonight will help build this team’s confidence moving forward over anything else.”
The Salukis travel to Northern Iowa and Drake Nov. 8-9. Following next weekend’s road trip, Southern will play its final three regular season games at home (Nov. 15, 22, 23).