Jessica Whitehead ranks second in the MVC in kills per set.
Nov. 4, 2013
CARBONDALE, Ill. - - The Southern Illinois volleyball program recorded a historic win last night topping Wichita State for the first time since 2001. The Shockers held a 23-match win streak against the Salukis entering Saturday's competition.
- This season has been a wild ride as Southern has battled through ebbs and flows of a team that features 11 newcomers, including nine freshman.
- Southern Illinois was selected to finish fifth in the Missouri Valley Conference preseason coaches poll and holds that position after splitting this weekend's matches with Missouri State and Wichita State.
- SIU topped Missouri State on Oct. 5 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.
-Senior Jessica Whitehead captains the Saluki offense this season averaging 4.10 kills per set to rank second in the MVC and 34th in the nation. The outside hitter currently has 1,272 career kills to rank fifth all-time in SIU history.
-Taylor Pippen, the 2012 All-Freshman selection, continues to be a prominent fixture for SIU. The sophomore averages 2.83 kills per set for a team-high hitting percentage of .318, which ranks seventh of the league. Pippen also contributes at the net averaging 1.19 blocks per set to lead the team and rank fourth in the league.
- Freshman Hannah Kaminsky has taken over at the setting position this season with the graduation of Rachael Brown and career-ending injury of Amy Drabant. Kaminsky, a three-time MVC Freshman of Week, has become a utility player for the Salukis averaging 10.34 assists per set, 2.35 digs per set, and 0.57 blocks. The Woodridge, Ill. native has also tallied a team-high 24 service aces.
-The Salukis make their final road trip next weekend traveling to Northern Iowa and Drake. Following the road trip, Southern will play its final three regular season games at home (Nov. 15, 22, 23).
Here is a look of what is happening in the Valley:
- UNI made waves at the top of the league standings last week, knocking off both Missouri State and Wichita State on the road. The Panthers still hold the top spot in the league with a 10-2 conference record.
-Wichita State stands one game behind UNI after falling to the Salukis on Saturday. The Shockers now hold a 10-3 MVC record. Illinois State began the conference season 7-0 but now has a third place standing with a 9-3 record.
- Since 1992, no team has captured the MVC conference race with more than two league losses.
- The middle of the pack is still being tightly contested, as Missouri State (8-5), Southern Illinois (8-5) and Bradley (6-7 MVC) will duel it out the next three weeks for positioning in the Missouri Valley Conference Volleyball Championship.
- Loyola (5-8 MVC), Indiana State (4-8 MVC), Evansville (3-10 MVC) and Drake (0-12 MVC) are still in contention for a spot in the league championship, but will need to secure positive outcomes in their remaining league matches to remain in the conversation.
- The top six teams in the league will travel to Wichita, Kan. for the 2013 MVC Volleyball Championships, Nov. 28-30.