Nov. 26, 2013
CARBONDALE, Ill.— Third-seeded Southern Illinois is set to play in the opening match of the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Volleyball Championship against No. 6 seeded Bradley at 5 p.m. on Thursday.
The tournament is hosted by Wichita State University at Charles Koch Arena. The three-day tournament begins with quarterfinal matches on Thursday followed by the semi-final matches on Friday with the championship match being played on Saturday.
Thursday, Nov. 28 | 5:00 pm. CT
No. 3 Southern Illinois (18-12, 13-5 MVC) vs. No. 6 Bradley (13-14, 7-11 MVC)
Both opening round and semifinal matches are available live online at ESPN3.com, while the championship contest on Saturday will be televised live on Fox Sports Midwest at 4:37 p.m.
- First back-to-back tournament appearance for SIU since 1995-1996
- 7-16 (.304) overall MVC tournament record
- 16th overall tournament appearance for the Salukis
- Southern never faced quarterfinal opponent BU
- SIU has never won a tournament title
- Two tournament runner-up finishes (1985, 2002)
No. 3 SEED IN MVC TOURNAMENT Southern Illinois will travel to Wichita, Kan. for the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Volleyball Championship hosted by Wichita State. No. 3 seeded SIU will take on No. 6 Bradley in the tournament opener on Thursday, Nov. 28, at 5:00 p.m., followed by No. 4 Missouri State vs. No. 5 Illinois State at 7:30 p.m. The game one winner between SIU/BU will take on No. 2 UNI on Friday evening at 5:00 p.m. in the first semifinal while the MSU/ILS winner will face host and No. 1 Wichita State in the second semifinal at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. Semifinal winners will face off for the Missouri Valley Conference automatic berth into the NCAA Volleyball Championship on Saturday, Nov. 30 at 4:37 p.m.
SCOUTING BRADLEY Bradley’s five-set victory at Drake, coupled with Loyola’s five-set loss at UNI Saturday locked up the No. 6 seed for the Braves in tournament. BU earned a spot in the tournament field for the first time since 2005 and the squad’s 13 victories and seven league wins are the most for Bradley since finishing that same 2005 campaign with a 16-17 overall mark and 9-9 Valley record. Thursday’s first-round matchup with Southern Illinois will be the first meeting in the MVC Tournament between the Braves and Salukis. The Braves topped Southern in both their meetings this season. On Sep. 27 Bradley took a five-set match from the Salukis in Carbondale and then swept them in Peoria on Oct. 26. The Salukis lead their all-time series with Bradley 35-18.
SALUKI STARTERS Southern sees contributions across its roster as a player from each class ranks in the top-ten statistically in the Missouri Valley Conference. Senior Jessica Whitehead ranks second in the MVC in kills averaging 4.06 per set, and second in points averaging 4.40 per set. Junior Alex Rivera leads the Saluki backcourt ranking ninth in the conference averaging 4.15 digs while sophomore Taylor Pippen ranks fourth in the league in blocks averaging 1.14 per set. Freshman Hannah Kaminsky places fourth in l assists with 10.58 per set and ranks sixth in service aces with 102 recorded this season.
LUCKY NUMBER 13 The Salukis closed out the 2013 regular season on a six-match winning streak to finish 18-12 overall and 13-5 in the Missouri Valley Conference, tying the school record for most conference wins. The last 13-win conference season for Southern Illinois was in 1995 under the direction of Saluki Hall of Fame member Sonya Locke.
HISTORIC SEASON Earlier this season, SIU beat Northern Iowa to snap a 40-match losing streak that dated back to 1993. The Salukis also won a thrilling five-set match at Missouri State, for their first victory over the Bears in Springfield in 15 years. On Nov. 2, Southern topped Wichita State, ending a 23-match losing streak against the Shockers. Southern topped Northern Iowa again, this time in Cedar Falls on Nov. 8, marking the first win at UNI since 1985, which was the first series sweep ever against the Panthers.
IN THE RECORD BOOK Senior Jessica Whitehead tallied 459 kills this season to rank fourth all-time in Southern Illinois history for kills in a season. Whitehead also ranks sixth all-time in SIU history for kills per set in a season (4.06/set). The outside hitter has complied 1,346 kills in her career to rank fifth all-time in SIU history. She also ranks fifth all-time in attempts with 3,643 recorded.
SCHOLAR-ATHLETE The MVC announced Tuesday that SIU sophomore Taylor Pippen had been named a First Team Scholar-Athlete selection. A marketing major with a cumulative 3.71 GPA, Pippen has played in all 30 matches for the Salukis in 2013. The sophomore middle blocker has tallied 129 blocks this season to rank fourth in the MVC. Pippen also ranks sixth in the Valley in hitting percentage boasting a .320 clip.
MVC PLAYER OF THE WEEK Meg Viggars was named the MVC Freshman of the Week on Monday. Viggars was the Salukis’ spark over the weekend recording her fifth and sixth double-double of the season as Southern Illinois topped Illinois State and Indiana State to tie the school record for most conference wins in a season. The Stoke-on-Trent, England native compiled 22 kills to average 2.44 per set. Viggars also was efficient behind the service line knocking in four aces. The freshman setter also recorded 25 digs to average 2.78 per set and tallied five block assists. This season Southern has boasted an MVC Player of the Week eight times.