Volleyball downs Illinois State, 3-1

    Southern Illinois recorded its fifth consecutive win Friday night at Davies Gym.

    Southern Illinois recorded its fifth consecutive win Friday night at Davies Gym.
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    Nov. 22, 2013

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    CARBONDALE, Ill.—The Southern Illinois volleyball team continued to make history Friday night at Davies Gym topping Illinois State in four sets to record its 12th Missouri Valley Conference win.

    This marks the first 12-win conference season for Southern Illinois since 2002.

    “Every conference win is a big win,” said SIU head coach Justin Ingram. “We have had a lot of historic wins this season but they are big wins no matter who the opponent is.”

    Illinois State (17-12, 10-7 MVC) entered the match testing out the SIU defense, presenting the Salukis (17-12, 12-5 MVC) with a new offensive system. The Redbirds jumped out to an early 9-5 lead. Southern was able to crawl back and come within two points at 16-11. ISU punched in four consecutive kills which were immediately answered with four Saluki kills. The score came to a tie at 17 and again at 20. The Redbirds closed out the first set on a 5-0 run with the help of three SIU errors to record their only set win of the night, 25-20.

    “Illinois State is great team,” Ingram said. “They came out in a different offense than we expected them to so that posed some different challenges for us, specifically our left side attackers.”

    Southern Illinois regrouped and returned to the court with a new game plan taking an early 12-2 lead courtesy of senior Elly Braaten, who produced nine consecutive points at the service line. Illinois State was able to slowly recover from the deficit working its way back to trail the Salukis by just three points at 17-14. The teams traded points in pairs until the Salukis were able to find some rhythm and quiet the Redbird offense. SIU won the second set 25-20, posting a set-high hitting efficiency of .345.

    The Salukis came out firing again from the service line in the third set, this time from the serve of freshman Meg Viggars. The Salukis jumped out to a 9-1 advantage and held a comfortable lead until late in the set. Illinois State was able to threaten the lead trailing by three at 23-20. The ISU rally ended as the Birds committed two consecutive errors to hand Southern the third set, 25-20.

    The fourth set saw a tie as late at 17 before the Saluki attackers took control, punching in four consecutive kills. Illinois State wouldn’t go down without a fight answering with three points. Southern Illinois was able to hold on to the lead and take the fourth and final set 25-21.

    Taylor Pippen led the Salukis offensively with 12 kills on 20 swings for a .450 hitting percentage. MVC Defensive Player of the Week Alex Rivera tallied 15 digs while Hannah Kaminsky dished out 44 assists. Meg Viggars recorded 10 kills and 10 digs to record a double-double.

    “We feel really great about this win tonight, this is a tough league and we will take the win and enjoy it.”

    The Salukis will host Indiana State tomorrow night at 7 p.m. for their final regular season match. Seniors Elly Braaten, Emily Less and Jessica Whitehead will be recognized following the match.

    Seedings for the 2013 MVC Conference tournament will be finalized after conference competition tomorrow.