Southern Illinois volleyball's best season since 2002 came to a close Thursday evening as the Salukis fell in three sets to Illinois State.
Nov. 22, 2012
By Robin Thuringer
SPRINGFIELD, Mo.-- Southern Illinois volleyball’s best season since 2002 came to a close Thursday evening as the Salukis fell in three sets to Illinois State in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament quarterfinals.
“We knew coming into the game we would have to handle the smaller opportunities, and we didn’t,” said SIU head coach Justin Ingram. “Our rhythms were off and we couldn’t get the opportunities offensively that we needed.”
SIU struggled offensively in the three-set loss to the Redbirds. The Salukis hit .145 and tallied 14 fewer kills than their opponent in the 21-25, 21-25, 20-25 sweep.
The two teams were evenly matched entering the contest, both boasting a conference record of 11-7, but the Salukis struggled to gain momentum throughout the duration of the match.
Every time Southern seemed to have a strong run going, the Salukis were undone by errors. Southern led much of the beginning of the first set holding a lead at 14-11 but a solid 6-0 run from the Redbirds halted SIU.
The Salukis battled back in front with several kills from Taylor Pippen to only trail by one before multiple errors helped Illinois State to the set win.
The beginning of the second set the two teams traded points tying it up at 10 apiece. Illinois State began to slowly chip away at the Salukis scoring points in bunches to create a comfortable cushion to take the set.
“Our swings just weren’t where we needed them to be to make Illinois State scramble,” said Ingram. “We didn’t have an answer offensively.”
Southern Illinois could not get anything by the Redbirds in the third set, falling behind ISU at the sets mid-point. The Salukis regained their footing momentarily with only a two-point deficit but could not seem to string together any runs to catch up with the Birds.
The Salukis conclude their 2012 season that saw the best record in ten years at 21-9 and 11-7 in the Missouri Valley Conference.
“It took a lot of hard work and four great seniors to make this season happen,” said Ingram. “It didn’t end how we wanted it to end but at the same time we are pleased with the progress the programs has made.”