The Salukis will look to pick up two more conference win this weekend at Drake and Creighton.
Oct. 25, 2012
By Robin Thuringer
CARBONDALE, Ill.-- The Southern Illinois university volleyball team returns to the road this weekend traveling to play Drake on Friday night followed by a Saturday afternoon match up at Creighton.
Friday, Oct. 26, 7 p.m. CT
SIU (17-5, 7-4 MVC) at Drake (3-18, 2-8 MVC)
Location: Des Moines, Iowa Site: Knapp Center
Saturday, Oct. 27 4 p.m. CT
SIU (17-5, 7-4 MVC) at Creighton (18-3, 9-1 MVC)
Location: Omaha, Neb. Site: D.J. Sokol Arena
RECAPPING LAST WEEK Southern Illinois returned home to Davies Gym last weekend hosting Wichita State on Friday and Missouri State on Saturday. The Salukis split the weekend falling to the Shockers in four sets on Friday but rebounded Saturday to pick up their 10th home win against the Lady Bears.
SIU vs. DRAKE Southern Illinois leads their all-time series with the Bulldogs 33-19. The Salukis hosted Drake on September 29 topping DU in four sets. Drake stepped away from conference play last week traveling to play North Dakota State. DU fell in four sets. Drake returned to MVC action on Saturday welcoming Creighton. The Bluejays bested DU in three sets. Drake is currently 3-18 overall and stands in eighth place in the MVC with a 2-8 mark. Bentley Macini leads the Drake offense with 2.59 kills per set. Sarah Madden holds down the Bulldog backcourt averaging 5.56 digs per set to lead the Valley. Jadranka Tramosljanin leads the MVC in service aces with 0.43 per set.
SIU vs. CREIGHTON Creighton holds a 28-10 all-time lead over SIU. Southern Illinois topped Creighton on Sep. 28 in four sets to defeat the Bluejays for the first time in 10 years. Creighton held a 19-match winning streak over the Salukis before entering the competition. CU currently holds a record of 18-3, 9-1 MVC, which is the programs best start in modern history. The duo of Leah McNary and Kelli Browning lead the Bluejay attack. McNary averages 2.86 kills per set while Browning follows with 2.82 kills per set. Senior setter Megan Bober is a force for the Jays as she averages 9.52 assists per set, 2.92 digs per set 1.78 kills per set, and 0.94 blocks per set.
HALFWAY THERE After the sixth week and half-way point in Missouri Valley Conference play, Southern Illinois holds a winning record of 17-5 overall and 7-4 in the MVC. The Salukis have stepped up on the court leading the Valley in hitting percentage and ranking third in assists, kills, and blocks. This time last season SIU held a record of 9-11, 3-8 MVC.
IT’S ON IN OMAHA Southern Illinois topped Creighton on Sep. 28 in four sets to defeat the Bluejays for the first time in 10 years. Creighton held a 19-match winning streak over the Salukis before entering the competition. Creighton and Southern will have a rematch on Saturday as SIU will travel to Omaha for a 4 p.m. contest with the Jays.
OFFENSIVE EDGE The Saluki offense has shined during the 2012 season. Southern Illinois currently sits atop the Missouri Valley Conference rankings in hitting percentage with a .252 efficiency. Individually, Alysia Mayes is second in the MVC while freshman Taylor Pippen takes the 10th spot in hitting percentage. Laura Thole leads the Valley in kills averaging 3.80 per set while fellow senior Alysia Mayes follows in second. Junior Jessica Whitehead also makes the top 10 in kills, ranking fifth in the conference.
VALLEY STANDINGS The first Valley volleyball weekend after the conference season’s midway point saw the league’s top three teams all finish the week unscathed, creating a bit of separation atop the conference standings. UNI (10-1 MVC), Creighton (9-1 MVC) and Wichita State (9-2 MVC) all remain at least two games ahead of the next closest team in the standings. The middle of the pack is still being tightly contested, as Southern Illinois (7-4 MVC), Illinois State (6-5 MVC) and Missouri State (5-6 MVC) will duel it out the next four weeks for positioning in the Missouri Valley Conference Volleyball Championship.
SALUKI VOLLEYBALL ONLINE All Saluki volleyball news, photos and statistics can be found online at SIUSalukis.com. Fans can also follow SIU volleyball on twitter @SIU_Volleyball or “like” Saluki volleyball on Facebook at facebook.com/SalukiVolleyball.