Volleyball Opens Season This Weekend in Saluki/Best Inns Invitational

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    Aug. 31, 2000

    The Southern Illinois University Volleyball team will open its 2000 season this weekend at home as it plays host to the Saluki/Best Inns Invitational September 1-2 in Davies Gym. The tournament matches mark the first opening home matches for the Salukis since 1989.

    The event, which offers a positive start for the Salukis, is exactly what Head Coach Sonya Locke is hoping to get from her young team.

    "It's nice to not have to pack our bags and we hope to start out at home with some wins to set the tone for our season," said Locke. "After the tournament we will be on the road for over three weeks. It will be a big challenge for us to start out with some wins at home and it is very important to build some confidence and start the SIU fall sports schedule on a positive note for our team and the fans."

    The Salukis are coming off a 5-21 season, but Locke is excited about the young, solid nucleus of returnees.

    "We need the nucleus to pull everyone together so we can count on 10 or 11 solid players to help us every match, especially on the road," added Locke. "We have to play as a team and not count on one or two players to carry the load. If we work as a team, we have a chance to accomplish the goals our team has set this week. This team wants to win the Saluki Best Inns Invitational and qualify for the MVC Tournament (top six teams)."

    Following the Saluki/Best Inns Inviatational,the Salukis will compete in the Orange Classic at Syracuse University on Sept. 8-9, before facing Evansville on the road in their first MVC game of the year on Sept. 12. SIU will then travel to the Conference Challenge on Sept. 15-16 at the University of Kentucky. The Salukis next home appearances are Sept. 29 vs. SW Missouri State at 7 p.m. and Sept. 30 vs. Wichita State at 7 p.m.

    2000 Saluki/Best Inns Invitational Tournament Schedule

    Friday, September 1
    4:30 p.m. -- Murray State vs. Long Island
    7:00 p.m. -- Southern Illinois vs. Louisiana-Monroe

    Saturday, September 2
    12:00 p.m. -- Southern Illinois vs. Long Island
    2:00 p.m. -- Murray State vs. Louisiana-Monroe
    4:30 p.m. -- Long Island vs. Louisiana-Monroe
    7:00 p.m. -- Southern Illinois vs. Murray State