Nov. 5, 2011
By Bill Ford
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois volleyball team's postseason hopes lay in limbo after the Salukis dropped a 3-1 match to Indiana State Saturday night at Davies Gym by scores of 20-25, 23-25, 25-21, 13-25.
The Salukis fell to 9-14 overall and 3-11 in the Missouri Valley Conference with the loss while the Sycamores improved to 13-13 with a 5-10 MVC mark. Indiana State and Drake are tied for sixth in the Valley with two weeks remaining in the season, a game and-a-half ahead of SIU and Evansville. The top six teams advance to the MVC Tournament Nov. 24-26 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Southern's matchup with the Sycamores largely resembled its four-set loss to Illinois State the previous night. Much like it did against the Redbirds SIU dropped the first two sets to Indiana State by close margins before breaking through with a win in the third set. For the second consecutive night, though, the Salukis couldn't continue the rally into the fourth.
"You look at the offensive numbers outside of Alysia Mayes and Sarah James, we really didn't have any offense. Laura Thole did a good job with the number of balls she had," said SIU head coach Brenda Winkeler. "Indiana State played very good defense. No balls went down on that side easy and that leads to a long night."
Mayes and Laura Thole each tallied 12 kills to lead the Saluki offense while James chipped in nine, but the Salukis struggled to a .097 hitting percentage due to 31 attacking errors and 10 Indiana State blocks.
Winkeler also said the Salukis continued to struggle with passing, sorely missing defensive specialist Caitlin Schumacher who missed her third consecutive match due to an injury.
"We've been putting a lot of emphasis on digging balls and defense," Winkeler said. "Bailey Yeager is turning in nice numbers nightly, but we've got to find a few other people. It will help having Caitlin back."
Monique Morris and Molly Murphy each had 13 kills to pace Indiana State while Kiya James finished with 27 digs.
The Salukis travel to Wichita State and Missouri State Friday and Saturday, Nov. 11-12 for the team's final road swing of the season.