Nov. 5, 2004
By Lou Antoine
PEORIA, Ill. - Southern Illinois (9-16, 6-7 MVC) overcame a 2-1 deficit and a 6-4 lead by Bradley (7-18, 1-13 MVC) in game five to beat the Braves 31-33, 30-25, 23-30, 30-18, 15-9 on Friday in Robertson Memorial Fieldhouse.
"This was a win that we had to have. We needed this win to stay in the race. A win tomorrow could really help us get into the conference tournament," said Sonya Locke, SIU head coach.
"Neither team was in control of the match and there were a lot of mistakes on both sides. Our passing was erratic and the third game we couldn't get any offense going. I'm just glad we pulled out the fourth game to force a fifth game. The difference was their missed serves in game five and we got a big block to change the momentum."
Trailing 6-4 in game five, SIU fought back to tie the game at 6-6 and 7-7. Leading 8-7 after a Bradley error, Haley Hann and Marissa Washington blocked Kelly Niemeyer to take a 9-7 lead and the Salukis went on to win the game 15-9.
Jene' Pulliam continued her hot play with a team-high 19 kills and .436 attack percentage (19K, 2E, 39TA). Hann added 17 kills and hit .333 in the match.
"Fortunately Jene' and Haley had good nights. We haven't blocked well, so we needed them to step up and get those kills," added Locke.
SIU took the lead 29-27 in game one, but couldn't put the Braves away. BU tied the game at 29-29 with a kill and a Saluki error. The Salukis took the lead 30-29 on a back row kill by Monica Laird, but Bradley scored two straight points to take the lead 31-30.
The Salukis battled back to win game two behind Pulliam (7 kills) and Haley Hann (5 kills). After Bradley cut the lead to 20-19, Holly Marita had three of her four aces during the game in a five-serve stretch, to put SIU up 25-20. Southern went on to win the game 30-25 to even the match at one game apiece.
Trailing 15-9 in game three, SIU battled back to tie the game at 17-17 and took a brief 18-17 lead. The teams went back and forth until tied at 21-21, when Bradley went on a 9-2 run to win the game 30-23 and go up 2-1 in the match. Lindsay Stalzer and Niemeyer led the Braves.
SIU dominated game four, outscoring Bradley 25-13 after the score was tied at 5-5. Washington (4 kills), Hann (3) and Pulliam (3) led the Saluki to the game four 30-18 win to force the fifth game.
Stalzer led Bradley with 29 kills.
SIU travels to Cedar Falls on Saturday to take on Northern Iowa at 7 p.m.