Seniors Elly Braaten, Jessica Whitehead and Emily Less
Nov. 21, 2013
CARBONDALE, Ill.—The Southern Illinois volleyball team will play its final two games of the 2013 regular season this weekend as they host Illinois State on Friday night and Indiana State on Saturday. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT each night.
Three seniors - Elly Braaten, Emily Less, and Jessica Whitehead – will be playing for the final time in Davies Gym on Saturday night. Following the match the seniors will be recognized with a short ceremony.
Friday, November 22 | 7 p.m. CT
Southern Illinois (16-12, 11-5 MVC) vs. Illinois State (17-11, 10-6 MVC)
Saturday, November 23 | 7 p.m. CT
Southern Illinois (16-12, 11-5 MVC) vs. Indiana State (12-16, 6-6 MVC)
SPIIKE OUT HUNGER Saluki Volleyball and Saluki Athletics have teamed up with Good Samaritan Ministries of Carbondale to “Spike Out Hunger.” Fans are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to the match Friday night to receive one dollar off admission. The items collected with be donated to the Good Samaritan food pantry.
FREE VIDEO STREAM This weekend’s matches will be streamed free courtesy of Saluki All-Access. Fans can watch the matches by visiting SIUSalukis.com and clicking the Saluki All-Access link under Audio/Video or by clicking HERE.
DAWG BITES The final weekend of Valley regular-season play still has much to be determined as 2013 proved to be yet another competitive conference finish in recent history. Southern Illinois swept Evansville last weekend at home to earn a trip to the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference tournament Nov. 28-30 in Wichita, Kan. The Salukis enter the weekend in fourth place in the MVC, just one game ahead of Illinois State. Southern is led on the season by Jessica Whitehead with 434 kills, averaging 4.17 kills per set on a .235 clip. Taylor Pippen leads the team with 121 total blocks while Alex Rivera, a two-time defensive player of the week selection, leads the team with 438 digs. Hannah Kaminsky has collected 986 assists, averaging 10.60 assists per set.
BATTLE IN THE VALLEY Both Wichita State (14-3 MVC) and UNI (13-3 MVC) enter the final weekend of Valley play with a chance to either clinch or share the regular-season title and No. 1 seed in the 2013 MVC Volleyball Championship. Regardless of the outcomes of any other league matches, the Shockers are guaranteed a first-round bye and either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in next week’s championship, while the Panthers can finish no worse than the No. 3 seed. Missouri State (12-5 MVC), Southern Illinois (11-5 MVC) and Illinois State (10-6 MVC) have already locked up bids into the league championship, while the seeds will all be determined based on the outcomes of this weekend’s matches.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK Junior Alex Rivera was named the Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. Rivera led Southern Illinois defensively as the Salukis topped Evansville in three sets on Friday. The junior tallied 23 digs to average 7.67 digs per set. This is the second time this season Rivera has been recognized as the MVC Defensive Player of the Week.
SALUKI SENIORS Southern Illinois’ match against Indiana State will be the final home match of the season for the Salukis. Following Saturday’s match seniors Elly Braaten, Emily Less and Jessica Whitehead will be recognized for their contributions to Saluki Volleyball.
SCOUTING ILLINOIS STATE ISU lost to UNI last Thursday but picked up a three-set win against Drake on Sunday to stand one game behind the Salukis. The Redbirds are led by Ashley Rosch with 324 kills, averaging 3.12 kills per set. Stacey Niao remains second on the team in kills (245) and digs (282) while Emily Orrick leads the team with 490 digs. Setter Kaitlyn Early has amassed 1,105 assists this season, eclipsing the millennium mark for the second consecutive year. Emily Schneider leads the team with 121 total blocks, tallying 19 solo blocks and 102 block assists. The Redbirds swept Southern Illinois in Normal on Sep. 22.
SCOUTING INDIANA STATE The Sycamores (12-16, 5-11 MVC) split a pair of Missouri Valley Conference games in their final home stand of the regular season last weekend as they swept Drake 3-0 and then lost a four-setter to Northern Iowa Saturday 3-1. Senior outside hitter Morgan Dall continues to lead the Sycamore attack with 472 kills this season (4.37 per set) with 21 assists, 25 service aces, 237 digs, and 38 blocks. Freshman outside hitter Bree Spangler has 221 kills (2.28 per set) with eight assists, seven service aces, 166 digs, and 19 blocks. Sophomore middle blocker Cassandra Willis has 212 kills (1.93 per set) with 31 assists, five service aces, 50 digs and 80 blocks while junior middle blocker Kyla Thomas has 192 kills (1.75 per set) with four assists, eight service aces, 47 digs, and 82 blocks. Indiana State has lost three straight to the Salukis with the last Sycamore victory coming in Carbondale, Ill., in 2011