November 15, 2000
Southern Illinois University Carbondale (8-21,1-16 in MVC) will look to end a disappointing season on a positive note, when the Salukis host Evansville (17-14, 9-8 in MVC) on Thursday, November 16.
SIU played better in two losses last week, but Saluki head coach Sonya Locke isn't expecting something special in the final game of the season. She's simply looking for her team will play to its potential.
"I'm not looking for anything special in the last match. A win would be really good for the team, and I know they want to end on a really good note. I think that since they performed so well over the weekend, I don't think they will be able to accept anything less than a win. I think they really badly want to end on a winning note," said Sonya Locke, Saluki head coach.
"I'm going to sit back and watch and see what they're going to do. I know them well enough to know that they can win, but this is a challenge in itself. We're playing for quote, unquote nothing and they're playing for an opportunity to improve their spot in the tournament. The mentalities are different. One team wants to keep someone from attaining something and the other team wants to position themselves for the tournament. I just want to see our kids perform at the level we can perform at, and if we lose that means that Evansville was better than us that day. That's what I would prefer to see."
Locke added that the matches with Evansville are usually intense and a chance for the Purple Aces to improve their tournament seeding will just add to a great rivalry.
"It's going to be intense anyway, our rivalry is pretty good. Our kids respect each other and Mark Hardaway (Evansville's Coach) and I get along real well and we're travel partners. We all go through the same things every year traveling to the same places on the same weekend," Locke added. "Our rivalry has become big and it's a good one, it's not nasty. The kids don't yap through the net at each other, but they go at each other hard and it's good clean fun. It's fun to coach against Mark, we play a lot of chess games on the court. It'll be a dogfight."
In addition to the rivalry and a chance to be seeded from fourth to sixth, the Salukis will have to beat a good hitting and defensive Evansville team to earn a win.
"I think we're just going to have to block well. They've been hitting pretty well and they're a good defensive team. We've got to outwork them. That's the bottom line," stated Locke.
"Since the rivalry is such a good one, it's going to be a good fight. They won't come in here and roll over and die. They have something to lose, they really do. They want to get the highest seed at the tournament and they need to win to have a chance at the fourth seed. They'll come in and play good defense, I know they will."
The Salukis will host Evansville in the final match of the season on Thursday, November 16, at 7 p.m. in Davies Gym.