Aug. 23, 2012
By Robin Thuringer
CARBONDALE, Ill.-- The Southern Illinois volleyball team will open their 2012 season at the Memphis Invitational on Friday and Saturday at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse on the campus of the University of Memphis.
Friday, Aug. 24 vs. Eastern Michigan, 2 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 24 at Memphis, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 25 vs. Austin Peay 2 p.m.
Location: Memphis, Tenn. Site: Elma Roane Fieldhouse
Southern Illinois Salukis (9-18, 3-15 MVC in 2011)
Head Coach: Justin Ingram, First Season, (60-33 in 3 seasons)
Austin Peay Lady Govs (11-20, 9-11 OVC in 2011)
Head Coach: Taylor Mott, First Season, (295-157 in 13 seasons)
Eastern Michigan Eagles (21-11, 9-7 MAC in 2011)
Head Coach: Kim Berrington, 17th season, (354-321 overall, 251-245 at EMU)
Memphis Tigers (20-13, 9-11 C-USA in 2011)
Head Coach: April Janurengui, Fifth Season, (60-67 overall and at Memphis)
Justin Ingram was named the seventh head coach in Saluki Volleyball history in January. Ingram brings 13 years of Division I coaching experience to Carbondale. He spent the last three years as the head coach at Arkansas State, where he led the Red Wolves to an overall record of 60-33 and was named the 2011 Sun Belt Coach of the Year.
SALUKIS PICKED 6TH IN MVC PRESEASON POLL
The SIU volleyball team was picked eighth in the MVC preseason coaches poll. The Salukis garnered 41 points in the poll, and defending champion Northern Iowa was the unanimous favorite to repeat as Valley champs.
Southern Illinois begins its 54th volleyball season by traveling to The University of Memphis to take on the host Tigers at the Memphis Invitational on August 24. SIU has won its season opener the last six years. The Salukis are 23-15 in season openers since the 1974 season.
EARLY SEASON SUCCESS
Southern Illinois has dominated in its early-season non-conference tournaments the last five seasons. The Salukis have gone 39-7 in early-season tournaments since 2007 and have carried an overall 44-9 record against non-conference opponents in that span.
SIU vs. EASTERN MICHIGAN
Southern Illinois leads the series 3-1-1. The two teams have not faced each other in 21 years but will meet on August 24. The Eagles return five starters including a trio of seniors. Senior outside hitter Rachel Ianquaniello who holds a place in the EMU record book in kills and attacks will lead the Eagles. Eastern Michigan finished the 2011 season with an overall record of 21-11 and placed fourth in the Mid-American Conference with a record of 9-7. The team is coached by Kim Berrington who is in her 17th season, compiling a school record of 251-245.
SIU vs. MEMPHIS
SIU leads the series 12-5 all-time against Memphis. Southern Illinois hosted Memphis last season at the Saluki Invitational. The Tigers defeated SIU in straight sets. Memphis is returning four starters including Altrese Hawkins who was a 2012 Preseason All-C-USA selection ranking 19th in the country in kills for 2011. Hawkins led the Tigers in the last meeting with the Salukis posting a team-high of 15 kills. Fellow returning senior Marija Jovanovic followed Hawkins with 14 kills and ranks second in Memphis history behind Hawkins.
SIU vs. AUSTIN PEAY
The Salukis trail their all-time series with Austin Peay 3-4. Austin Peay returns with just three starters from the 2011 team that went 11-20 overall and tied for sixth in the Ohio Valley Conference with a record of 9-11. Nikki Doyle returns for her senior season with the Lady Governors. Doyle led AP last season in kills with a total of 346. The Lady Governors are coached by Taylor Mott who is in her first season at Austin Peay. Mott brings 13 years of coaching experience with her and an overall record of 295-157.
SALUKIS RETURN PLAYMAKERS
The Saluki offense was led by a trio of attackers that each averaged more than two kills per set in 2011. Senior outside hitter Laura Thole ranked fourth in the MVC at 3.26 kills per set while junior outside hitter Jessica Whitehead ranked fifth in the league with a season average of 3.25 kills per set while. Senior middle blocker Alysia Mayes rounded out Southerns top attackers with an average of 2.61 kills per set with a .326 hitting percentage. Senior setter Rachael Brown ranked fifth in the Valley with an average of 9.89 assists per set. The Salukis had three players average more than two digs per set, led by senior libero Bailey Yeager's 3.97 per set, which ranked eighth in the MVC. Thole was second on the team with an average of 2.98 digs per set while Brown was third at 2.8.
SIU LOOKS TO SNAP STREAK
The Salukis will look to start the season with a win to snap a 12-game losing streak that was compiled at the end of the 2011 season. The current losing streak is SIU's longest since losing 17 straight between the 2000 and 2001 seasons.
The Salukis welcome four newcomers to the roster in 2012. SIU added one transfer in Amy Drabant along with three freshman Taylor Pippen, Mary Bogdanski and Chelsea Cunningham. In addition to head coach Justin Ingram, the Salukis begin the season with two new assistant coaches in Todd Nelson and Natasha Marquis. Nelson came to SIU after serving as the assistant coach for six seasons at the University of Denver. He helped the Pioneers to an overall record of 109-82 including two Sun Belt West Division titles. Natasha Marquis comes to Southern after serving as head coach for one season at Chardon State College. Prior to Chardon State Marquis spent three seasons at the University of Nebraska-Kearny as a graduate assistant.
YEAGER DIGS IN
Senior libero Bailey Yeager moved into the top 10 in school history for digs in a season in 2011. Her 421 digs in 2011 ranks 10th in SIU history.
MAYES MOVES UP
Senior middle blocker Alysia Mayes moved into the top 10 in SIU history for career solo blocks during the 2011 season. Mayes racked up a career-best 31 block solos during the year to improve to 75 for her career, which ranks 10th in school history.