Volleyball travels to Indiana State, Illinois State this weekend

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    Oct. 4, 2011

    By Bill Ford

    CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Southern Illinois volleyball team travels to Indiana State Friday before heading to Illinois State Saturday in Missouri Valley Conference action.

    Match Notes

    Friday, Oct. 7
    SIU at Indiana State, 6 p.m.

    Location: Terre Haute, Ind.
    Site: ISU Arena
    Live Stats

    Saturday, Oct. 8
    SIU at Illinois State, 7 p.m.

    Location: Normal, Ill.
    Site: Redbird Arena
    Live Stats
    Live Audio (free)
    Live Video (pay)

    Southern Illinois Salukis (8-6, 2-3 MVC)
    Head Coach:
    Brenda Winkeler, Seventh Year (175-167 overall, 93-95 at SIU)
    Indiana State Sycamores (9-8, 1-5 MVC)
    Head Coach:
    Traci Dahl, Fourth Year (35-76 overall and at Indiana State)
    Illinois State Redbirds (10-8, 2-4 MVC)
    Head Coach:
    Melissa Myers, Fourth Year (218-103 overall, 57-54 at Illinois State)

    Southern leads the all-time series with the Sycamores 40-16-1. Indiana State broke an 11-match Saluki win streak in the series last November when the Sycamores topped SIU in five sets in Terre Haute. ISU enters Friday’s matchup on a three-match losing streak, having dropped its last two with junior Morgan Dall out of the lineup. Dall leads the MVC with an average of 4.58 kills per set this season. A native of Aviston, Ill., Dall attended the same high school (Mater Dei) as Saluki junior Laura Thole and SIU head coach Brenda Winkeler. The Sycamores attack also features sophomore outside hitter Monique Morris, who averages 2.45 kills per set, and senior middle blocker Stacy Qualizza, who averages 2.29 kills per set. Senior setter Shelbi Fouty leads ISU with an average of 7.31 assists per set while sophomore setter Loni Mackinson averages 4.23 assists per set. The Sycamore defense is led by senior libero Kiya James, who ranks third in the MVC with an average of 4.67 digs per set.

    SIU trails its all-time series with Illinois State 36-15, although the Salukis have had some success against the Redbirds the past two seasons. ISU held a 12-match winning streak in the series between 2003 and 2008, until Southern broke through with a win at Redbird Arena in 2009. The two teams have split the series the past two seasons. The Redbirds offense is led by sophomore outside hitter Shannon McGlaughlin, who averages 3.52 kills per set, followed closely by sophomore middle blocker LeighAnn Hranka, who averages 2.93 kills per set. Senior setter Kristin Stauter leads the team with an average of 8.99 assists per set while freshman Kaitlyn Early also figures for 4.15 assists per set. The ISU defense is led by junior libero Jenny Menendez, who averages 4.15 digs per set while freshman middle Emily Schneider averages 1.05 blocks per set.

    SIU won a pair of five-set matches at Davies to improve to 5-2 at home. The Salukis first defeated SIU Edwardsville in the first-ever matchup between the sister schools. Alysia Mayes led the Salukis in the win with a career-best 20 kills on a .444 hitting percentage while Jessica Whitehead added 13 kills and Laura Thole had a double-double with 13 kills and 19 digs. Rachael Brown also had a double-double with 53 assists and a career-best 20 digs while Bailey Yeager led the team with 22 digs. The Salukis took down Evansville Friday night in the teams annual Dig for the Cure match. Whitehead paced the Saluki offense with 21 kills while Mayes added 19 kills and Thole had 15 kills and 16 digs. Brown posted a season-high 59 assists in the match while Yeager chipped in 18 digs.

    Saluki sophomore Jessica Whitehead has proven to be one of the top attackers in the Missouri Valley Conference through the first three weeks of Valley play. Whitehead leads the MVC with an average of 4.10 kills per set in conference matches. She has gone over 20 kills three times in the Salukis’ last five matches, including a season-high 22 kills September 17 at Bradley.

    Junior middle blocker Alysia Mayes had the best attacking week of her career last week, collecting a combined 39 kills (3.90 per set) in two matches with a total hitting percentage of .469. The Ashkum, Ill., native posted a career-best 20 kills with a .444 hitting clip in a win over SIU Edwardsville Tuesday before nearly matching that mark with 19 kills on a .500 hitting percentage Friday night against Evansville. Mayes’ hitting proficiency helped her move up to third in the MVC standings with a season percentage of .354.

    Southern Illinois junior Rachael Brown’s assists average has improved the past two weeks after a slow start to conference play. Brown has averaged 11.61 assists per set over the past four matches, and has improved her season average from 9.45 to 10.12 per set in two weeks time. She ranks second the MVC with an average of 10.76 per set in Valley matches. The Brownsburg, Ind., native posted a season-best 59 assists in Friday’s win over Evansville, just four shy of her career high.

    Junior setter Rachael Brown moved up another spot in the SIU record book for career assists after last week’s matches. She now stands at 2,816 career assists, taking over the fourth spot previously held by Kim Golebiewski ( 2,796 assists, 1992-95). Brown is 433 short of third-place Lisa Cummins (3,249 assists, 1982-85).

    Junior middle blocker Alysia Mayes is close to entering the SIU record book for career solo blocks. The Ashkum, Ill., native stands just 10 shy of taking over 10th position, which is currently occupied by Lindsey Schultz (71 solo blocks, 1999-02).