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Assists have been critical to Saluki volleyball’s success

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Setter/hitter Meg Viggars. (DailyEgyptian.com file photo)

Setter/hitter Meg Viggars. (DailyEgyptian.com file photo)

Setter/hitter Meg Viggars. (DailyEgyptian.com file photo)

By Jesse Robertson

When looking through the box scores after a Saluki volleyball game, fans will notice there are two names dominating the assist column.

In fact, the Salukis have 1,031 total assists this season, which is nine more than opponents have totaled this year. The team leader in assists to this point is senior setter Meg Viggars with 502. Viggars likened the position to another key one in a different sport.

“The setter is like the quarterback on the court,” she said. “We set up all the plays, we’re involved in every play and touch the ball every time, so we have to be very skilled in getting the ball to the right place for the hitters.”

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Viggars and fellow senior setter Hannah Kaminsky have combined for 974 of SIU’s 1,031 assists.

The duo have been doing this their entire careers.

Kaminsky sits at No. 5 all-time in career assists with 3,073. It is feasible for her to reach No. 4 by the end of the season.

Viggars will likely crack the top-10 list during Saturday’s match against Evansville, as she is just 13 assists away from No. 10 assist leader Sue Sinclair.

Coach Justin Ingram said the duo have improved since their freshman years, building their set percentages from the ’60s to the ’80s.

Setting often gets lost from the highlight tapes since it is not as flashy, but recognition isn’t as important as getting the win to Viggars.

“If they get a kill then I’m happy about it,” she said. “The hitters always tell us, ‘Good set’ so we do get the credit, but it’s behind the scenes. As long as we get the win I’m happy.”

Kaminsky said technique is the most important aspect of being a setter.

“You need to have quick feet to get to the ball quickly and have good hands,” Kaminsky said. ”It’s just repetition, me and [Viggars] have set probably thousands of balls and eventually it becomes second nature.”

Ingram said his team’s success comes in part thanks to Viggars’ and Kaminsky’s good form.

“Sets have a direct correlation to who wins and loses the game,” Ingram said. “If you’re able to successfully … set up your hitters you’ll be in a good place at the end of the match. They’ve both done a great job with that.”

The two hope to get back on the winning path at 6 p.m. Saturday at home against Evansville.

Staff writer Jesse Robertson can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3333.

To stay up to date with all your SIU sports news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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