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    The Salukis kick-off play at Davies Gym on Friday at 7 p.m.

    The Salukis kick-off play at Davies Gym on Friday at 7 p.m.
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    Oct. 10, 2013

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    CARBONDALE,Ill. -- Southern Illinois returns to Davies Gym to host Drake and Northern Iowa for International Volleyball Weekend. SIU plays Drake on Friday night at 7 p.m. followed by a Saturday night match with UNI. That match will get underway at 7 p.m.

    Live Stats | Live Video

    Weekend Schedule

    Friday, October 11 | 7 p.m. CT

    Southern Illinois (8-10, 3-3 MVC) vs. Drake (2-15, 0-5 MVC)

    Saturday, October 12 | 7 p.m. CT

    Southern Illinois (8-10, 3-3 MVC) vs. Northern Iowa (12-5, 4-1 MVC)

    LAST TIME OUT Southern Illinois split its games last weekend on the road. Wichita State topped the Salukis in three sets on Friday but SIU rebounded on Saturday defeating Missouri State in five sets.

    INTERNATIONAL WEEKEND Southern Illinois volleyball invites international students to participate in International Volleyball Weekend at Davies Gym. Fans are encouraged to fly the flag of their home nation as they cheer on the Salukis. SIU boasts four international players this season, hailing from Columbia, England, Israel and Puerto Rico.

    SCOUTING DRAKE Drake enters the weekend looking for its first Missouri Valley Conference win of the season. Last weekend, the Bulldogs fell in straight sets at Northern Iowa. Cassie Effken leads the Bulldog offense averaging 2.85 kills per set while Amanda Platte follows with 2.82 kills per set. Sarah Madden defends the DU backcourt averaging 5.27 digs per set while Rebecca Brown records 7.05 assists per set.

    SCOUTING NORTHERN IOWA The Panthers topped Drake last weekend in straight sets to improve to 3-1 in the MVC. UNI has topped Loyola, Missouri State and Drake in conference play this season. Their only conference loss was to Wichita State on Sep. 27. Northern Iowa leads the conference in kills  averaging 13.32 per set and ranks third in hitting percentage with a clip of .237. The Panthers also lead the Valley in assists with 13.32 per set and rank second in blocks with 2.42 per set.

    SUCCESS IN SPRINGFIELD (FINALLY) Southern Illinois topped Missouri State on Saturday night in a thrilling five-set duel. This was the first time in 15 years the Salukis beat Missouri State on its home court. The last season Southern Illinois saw a victory in Springfield was during the 1998 under the direction of Saluki great Sonya Locke.

    KILL ARTIST Jessica Whitehead remained consistent for the Salukis last weekend recording 32 kills to average 4.09 per set. The senior outside hitter currently has 1,138 career kills to rank ninth all-time in SIU history. Whitehead is nine kills away from passing Saluki Hall of Fame member Sonya Locke on the all-time kills list.

    NCAA NATIONAL RANKINGS NCAA statistics were released Monday and senior Jessica Whitehead ranks 34th in the nation in kills averaging 4.09 per set. She also cracked the top-50 in points per set ranking 46th with 4.47. Taylor Pippen ranks 76th in the country in blocks averaging 1.18 per set while SIU as a team ranks 89th in blocks per set with 2.33.

    EFFICIENCY X FOUR The Saluki offense saw production from four players who contributed double-digit kills last weekend. Jessica Whitehead led the team with 32 kills while Taylor Pippen followed with 26 kills. Senior Elly Braaten knocked in 20 while freshman Meg Viggars recorded 15. Pippen led the team in hitting efficiency with an impressive .333 clip.