Salukis top Bradley to record 20th win of the season

    Senior Bailey Yeager tallies 24 digs to total 1,355 career digs to now rank third all-time in SIU history.

    Senior Bailey Yeager tallies 24 digs to total 1,355 career digs to now rank third all-time in SIU history.
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    Nov. 10, 2012

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    By Robin Thuringer

    CARBONDALE, Ill.-- The Southern Illinois University volleyball team defeated Bradley in their final home match of the season Saturday night at Davies Gym.

    The Salukis (20-7, 10-6) put away the Braves (9-19, 3-14) in four sets 23-25, 25-17, 25-23, and 25-20 to record their 20th win of the season on Senior Night. This is Southern Illinois' first 20-win season since the 2002 squad finished with an overall record of 23-10.

    "This win an achievement for the athletes, they put the time in and they are the ones that believed they could do it right from the beginning," said SIU head coach Justin Ingram. "They set the goals and weren't afraid to be pushed and that is what I like about them."

    Bradley entered the match looking to avenge their five-set loss to the Salukis earlier in the season. The two teams passed the ball back and forth swapping points throughout the entire first set. The set saw 13 ties all the way until 21-21. Bradley knocked in two kills to hold the lead at 23-21. A BU service error and a kill from junior Jessica Whitehead took the game to 24-23. Bradley was able to have the last say, taking their only set of the night 25-23.

    The second set was all SIU as the team out hit Bradley .387 to .158. The beginning of the match saw the score go back and forth but the Salukis took a handle of things and began to break away from the Braves finishing the set with an eight-point advantage (25-17).

    Set three resembled the first set with Southern and Bradley going back and forth. Each team was able to string together two points a time to keep the game close. The Saluki offense picked up at the end of the set as Taylor Pippen, Jessica Whitehead, and Laura Thole put away the set for SIU 25-23.

    The final set of the night was again a stalemate until Southern Illinois was able to go on two late multiple point runs to push Bradley back. The Salukis held the lead at 24-19 when Laura Thole closed out her final game at Davies Gym with the final kill of the night.

    Following the match the four Saluki seniors, Rachael Brown, Alysia Mayes, Laura Thole, and Bailey Yeager were honored as they played in the final game at Davies Gym.

    "Everyone always remembers their last match at home and it is hard as a senior knowing that this is their last match here in front of their parents, the fans and supporters- it is an emotional night," said Ingram. "Kudos to them, they rallied and were able to have a great night of volleyball on their senior night."

    Southern Illinois' offense shined as three Salukis posted double-digit kills. Freshman Taylor Pippen recorded 12 kills for a hitting clip of .545, Jessica Whitehead knocked in 16 kills with a .306 hitting efficiency and Laura Thole totaled and impressive 20 kills.

    Bailey Yeager recorded 24 digs to now total 1,355 career digs. Yeager now moves up to rank third in the record book tying Saluki great Kristie Kemner in all-time career digs in Southern Illinois program history.

    The Salukis will play their final regular season games on the road next weekend at Illinois State and Indiana State.



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