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    October 18, 2000

    Carbondale, Ill. -

    At the halfway mark of the Missouri Valley Conference volleyball season, Southern Illinois University Carbondale (8-12, 1-8 in MVC) sits four wins away from a berth in the conference tournament. While making up four wins in nine matches is tough, Coach Sonya Locke knows the Salukis are not out of the MVC Tournament in Terre Haute, Indiana on November 24 and 25 just yet.

    "The conference is packed in now. Northern Iowa (9-0) and SW Missouri (8-1) are really up there and Illinois State (7-2) is in good position. After that it drops off to a tight group. There is a chance and we have to take advantage of every opportunity we get," said Sonya Locke, Saluki head coach. "We need to get somewhere near .500. The chances of that ...it means we have to win on the road and win the rest at home. There is always a chance and we have to take advantage of the chances we have."

    The Salukis will face Indiana State (9-11, 3-6 in MVC and automatic berth as host) and third place Illinois State (10-6, 7-2 in MVC) over the weekend. The Salukis lost to both teams earlier this season and must take care of the basics to pull off a win.

    "We're really not going to try to do anything specific against Indiana State of Illinois State. We just want to play consistently. We were inconsistent last week," Locke added. "Passing has always been important and we have to play good defense against those two teams. We have to pass well ad play defense to win. We have to win to have a chance to get to the tournament."

    Southern Illinois is 26-9-1 all-time against Indiana State and 4-43-1 against Illinois State.

    The Salukis host Indiana State on Oct. 20, and Illinois State on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. in Davies Gym. SIU will follow the home stand with road games at Wichita St. (Oct. 27), SW Missouri St. (Oct. 28), and Arkansas (Oct. 30).