Aug. 21, 2014
By Elizabeth Robinson
ST. LOUIS -- The Southern Illinois University volleyball team has been picked fifth in the Missouri Valley Conference preseason poll, which was released Thursday. The Salukis received 67 points from the annual poll of league coaches.
Southern Illinois enters the 2014 season on the heels of back-to-back 20-win campaigns under Justin Ingram, as the Salukis finished 2013 with a 20-13 (13-5 MVC) record and advanced to the MVC Tournament title match for the first time since 2002.
Southern Illinois welcomes back three starters, plus the libero, and will be led offensively by Pippen (332 kills, 142 blocks), who was a first team all-MVC selection a season ago. Sophomore right side Meg Viggars (227 kills, 361 digs, 83 blocks, 24 aces) will add to the offensive firepower for the Salukis, while Kaminsky (10.57 assists/set, 261 digs, 56 blocks, 31 aces) will once again distribute the ball in the SIU offense. Both Kaminsky and Viggars were members of the league's all-freshman team in 2013, while Kaminsky is also the Valley's reigning Freshman of the Year.
Defensively, senior libero Alex Rivera (523 digs, 33 aces) will lead the charge in the back row, while sophomores Leah Edgerton (248 digs, 24 aces) and Katie Baki (258 digs, 21 aces) also add to the depth on the back line.
The Valley will look to continue to build off the success of another successful season in 2013 that saw four league teams win 20+ matches. The Valley finished with a league RPI of 13 in 2013, including four teams in the top-100 - Wichita State (No. 38), UNI (No. 61), Missouri State (No. 70) and Illinois State (No. 91). This year, MVC teams return 33 starters and five liberos (54-percent of starters), three first team all-conference selections and another three players who earned second-team accolades.
2014 MVC Volleyball Preseason Poll
|1.||Wichita State (4)||87|
|3.||Illinois State (3)||78|
|5.||Southern Illinois (1)||67|