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    Aug. 30, 2012

    By Robin Thuringer

    CARBONDALE, Ill.-- The Southern Illinois volleyball team is set to compete in the Active Ankle Challenge hosted by Saint Louis University this weekend at the Chaifetz Pavillion.

    Tournament Information

    Friday, Aug. 31 vs. South Alabama, 4:30 p.m.

    Saturday, Sept. 1 at Saint Louis, 12 p.m.

    Saturday, Sept. 1 vs. Valparaiso, 4:30 p.m.

    Location: St. Louis, Mo.

    Site: Chaifetz Pavillion

    Saint Louis Match Notes Get Acrobat Reader

    Live Stats

    Stream of Southern Illinois vs. Saint Louis

    Team Facts

    Southern Illinois Salukis (2-1)

    Head Coach: Justin Ingram, First Season, (60-33 in 3 seasons)

    South Alabama Jaguars (2-1)

    Head Coach: Amy Hendrichovsky, First Season

    Saint Louis Billikens (0-3)

    Head Coach: Kent Miller, Second Season, (151-238 overall, 15-13 at SLU)

    Valparaiso Crusaders (2-2)

    Head Coach: Carin Avery, 12th Season, (296-120 overall, 241-96 at Valpo)

    SALUKIS IN ST. LOUIS  Southern Illinois will compete in the Active Ankle Challenge hosted by Saint Louis University Friday and Saturday at the Chaifetz Pavillion in St. Louis, Mo. The Salukis will take on South Alabama at 4:30 p.m. on Friday before facing host Saint Louis on Saturday at 12 p.m. and Valparaiso at 4:30 p.m.

    RECAPPING LAST WEEK  SIU opened their season at the Memphis Invitational with a 2-1 record. The Salukis fell in four sets to Eastern Michigan but rebounded sweeping Memphis and Austin Peay. Senior middle blocker Alysia Mayes was named to the All-Tournament team. Mayes tallied 33 kills in three matches for an average of 3.3 per set and recorded a hitting percentage of .491. The senior also led the Salukis with eight service aces and 12 total blocks over the weekend.

    EARLY SEASON SUCCESS  Southern Illinois has dominated in its early-season non-conference tournaments the last five seasons. The Salukis have gone 41-8 in early-season tournaments since 2007 and have carried an overall 46-10 record against non-conference opponents in that span.

    INGRAM ERA  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 sixth 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.

    SIU vs. SOUTH ALABAMA   Southern’s Friday matchup with the Jaguars will be the first ever meeting between the two teams. South Alabama enters the weekend matching the Salukis with a 2-1 record. The Jaguars opened their season competing in the Southern Miss Invitational falling in their first match to Central Arkansas (3-1), but came back to take the final two matches against Southern Miss (3-0), and Louisiana Tech (3-1). USA showed a balanced offense with four players averaging two kills or better per set. Olivia Mohler and Torlandria Jones ranks in the top-two in the Sun Belt Conference in hitting percentages with efficiencies of .443 and .400, respectively. South Alabama also holds a strong back court with junior libero Jenna Hassell averaging 4.27 digs per set.

    SIU vs. SAINT LOUIS  SIU leads the series 9-2 all-time against Saint Louis. The Billikens were put to the test early in their opening weekend of play competiting in the Husker Classic leaving the tournament with an 0-2 record. SLU was swpet by No. 4 Nebraska then again by Notre Dame the following day. Saint Louis met up with Santa Clara for their home opener on Monday, dropping the contest in three sets. Grace Bonoma is averaging 3.78 digs per set for the Billikens while Lauren Baumet leads SLU offensively with 2 kills per set.

    SIU vs. VALPARAISO  The Salukis lead their all-time series with Valparaiso 2-0. The teams last met in 2009. The Crusaders enter the Active Ankle Challenge with a 2-2 record. They opened their season at the Hawkeye Challenge falling to host Iowa and SEMO 3-1. Valpo swept Chicago State and took South Dakota into five sets holding onto the win. Valparasio sports a two-time Horizon League Defensive Player of the year in Taylor Root. Root earned preseason all-conference accolades and will show a strong presence in the back court.

    SALUKIS VS. SUN BELT  Justin Ingram will see some familiar faces on Friday as he coaches agaisnt Sun Belt Conference member South Alabama. Ingram spent the last three seasons at SBC school Arkansas State. The Red Wolves compilied a record of 60-33 under Ingram’s direction and garnered three consecutive Sun Belt West Division titles. In 2011 Ingram was named the Sun Belt Coach of the Year. The Salukis are 8-8-1 all-time against Sun Belt schools.

    FRESH FACES The Salukis welcome four newcomers to the roster in 2012. SIU added one trasnfer 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.

    CLASS ACTS  The 2011 Saluki volleyball team received the AVCA Team Academic Award for the seventh consecutive season. The award is handed out annually to programs that finish with a team GPA above 3.30 in the 2011-12 school year. Seven players from the 2011 squad carried a GPA of 3.30 or better and Senior Bailey Yeager carried a perfect 4.0 through the year.

    YEAGER DIGS IN  Senior libero Bailey Yeager moved into the top 10 in school history for digs in a season in 2011. Yeager now ranks sixth all-time with 473 career digs, passing Saluki alum and current Marion High School head volleyball coach Lauren Blumhorst.

    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.