Jessica Whitehead led SIU with 13 kills.
Nov. 17, 2012
By Robin Thuringer
TERRE HAUTE, Ind.-- The Southern Illinois University volleyball team dominated play in ISU Arena Saturday night, sweeping Indiana State 25-22, 25-21, 25-9, in the final Missouri Valley Conference match of the regular season.
The Salukis (21-8, 11-7) out hit the Sycamores (4-24, 2-16 MVC) .326 to.104 and recorded 12 total team blocks to ISU's four.
The first two sets of the night were the most contested in the match as Southern Illinois and the Sycamores went back and forth until SIU was able to pull away with the final points in each set.
Southern got off to a slow start in the first set posting their lowest hitting percentage of the night. SIU went on several multiple-point runs towards the conclusion of the set off the serve of Rachael Brown and Alysia Mayes to give SIU a 20-18 advantage. Indiana State followed suit going on a 3-0 run to take the lead back at 21-20. The set then went to a tie at 22-22 but freshman Taylor Pippen punched in two kills to put the Salukis ahead at 24-22. The Sycamores faltered on their last possession giving SIU the last point of the set.
"In the first set we were having some difficulties defending some of their hitters," said SIU head coach Justin Ingram. "Their offense was clicking and our defense wasn't responding."
The second set of the night saw the score tie 13 times with six lead changes. Each team went on numerous multiple-point sprees throughout the set trading the lead. The Salukis rallied to collect the final points holding off the Sycamores to win set two 25-21.
"As the match progressed Laura (Thole) started out the match with great serves limiting their options and made them rely on other hitters and that is where the separation began.
The Salukis await their fate in the tournament, as seedings will be decided at the conclusion of tonight's Missouri Valley matches. The MVC Tournament is set to begin Thursday night in Springfield, Mo.
"We are still getting the opportunity to get better and are feeling better about going into the tournament," said Ingram. "We understand who we are as a team now and feel comfortable playing any team."