November 9, 2000
Carbondale, Ill. -
The Southern Illinois University Carbondale (8-19, 1-14 in MVC) volleyball is still looking to end the 2000 season on a positive note. Despite two losses last week, the Salukis hope to win two of their final three matches in an effort to reach ten wins (doubling last season's total) overall and equal their MVC total of three wins in 1999.
"Anytime you still have a chance to accomplish a goal, there can be some excitement there. I think that it's essential when you're not going to the conference tournament, that you find something to play for. Outside of the sheer love of the game, having another goal makes the competition more exciting to me," said Sonya Locke, Saluki head coach.
"We haven't been very successful on the road within the conference, so the task will be tougher than it sounds. I never doubt whether we can win, it's a matter of will we put together enough of the essential elements to win the matches. I know we can, but will we."
The Salukis may be out of the MVC Tournament, but teams like Bradley (6th place, but eliminated from contention with a loss) and Northern Iowa (1st place) will not look past Southern Illinois in a critical weekend of MVC play.
"I think that those two teams are going to have something riding on these matches. Their spot at the conference tournament will be dictated by wins and losses at this point. They're in or still have a chance to get in, but where they stand could be in jeopardy if they falter," added Locke. "They'll be forcing the issue and won't take these matches lightly. They are playing at home and it's critical to win with some other seeds playing each other this weekend. We'd love to be the spoilers."
After losing to Bradley in four games and Northern Iowa in three games earlier this year, Coach Locke says there's no doubt that the team believes they can win these matches.
"I don't think there's ever been any doubt in their minds that they (the girls) could win. The team knows what it takes, but executing it and knowing it are totally different. Our problem is executing those things. I don't think we've ever really lacked confidence. I think deep inside they know they can win games and matches, but our ability to control our emotions when we're in the matches is something that is a question mark," stated Locke.
"Can we control our emotions in two of the last three matches to get to ten wins, I don't know. I do know they're working so hard and they don't want to end on a sour note. They really don't want to end on a negative note and I'm pretty thankful for that, they could have kicked the bucket a long time ago, but they really have done a good job."
After the Salukis travel to Bradley on Friday, November 10, and Northern Iowa on Saturday, November 11, SIU will host Evansville in the final match of the season on Thursday, November 16, at 7 p.m. in Davies Gym.