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SIU volleyball looking to finish season strong, prepared for postseason

SIU+senior+setter%2Fhitter+Meg+Viggars+attempts+to+score+past+Northern+Iowa+senior+outside+hitter+Amie+Held+%283%29+and+senior+middle+hitter+Kayla+Haneline+%2813%29+during+the+Salukis%27+3-2+win+over+Northern+Iowa+on+Friday%2C+Sept.+23%2C+2016%2C+at+Davies+Gym.+%28Athena+Chrysanthou+%7C+%40Chrysant1Athena%29
SIU senior setter/hitter Meg Viggars attempts to score past Northern Iowa senior outside hitter Amie Held (3) and senior middle hitter Kayla Haneline (13) during the Salukis' 3-2 win over Northern Iowa on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016, at Davies Gym. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

SIU senior setter/hitter Meg Viggars attempts to score past Northern Iowa senior outside hitter Amie Held (3) and senior middle hitter Kayla Haneline (13) during the Salukis' 3-2 win over Northern Iowa on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016, at Davies Gym. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

SIU senior setter/hitter Meg Viggars attempts to score past Northern Iowa senior outside hitter Amie Held (3) and senior middle hitter Kayla Haneline (13) during the Salukis' 3-2 win over Northern Iowa on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016, at Davies Gym. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

By Jonathan Thompson

As SIU volleyball is wrapping up its season and with two games left, the Salukis are gearing up for the postseason.

The Salukis’ record of 21-9 and 12-4 in the Missouri Valley Conference puts them at No. 57 in the RPI rankings, with the 64-team NCAA tournament looming.

SIU was ranked No. 40 last year when the tournament rolled around and earned its first-ever NCAA bid.

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The Dawgs will look to improve that during upcoming games against No. 37 Wichita State (20-7, 13-3 MVC) and No. 47 Missouri State (23-7, 14-2 MVC) on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

“There are three valley teams ahead of us: Missouri State, Northern Iowa and Wichita State,” coach Justin Ingram said. “We get the opportunity this weekend to close out at home with two top-50 teams in the country. We’re sitting in a place that’s interesting.”

However, the Salukis will likely not have a full roster for the rest of the season.

Senior setter Meg Viggars and junior middle hitter Alex Rosignol are each out with injuries and Ingram said it is “doubtful” that they will be able to return this season.

“Others have to step up,” he said. “That’s athletics at its finest, you have to make sure everybody is prepared throughout the course of the season and prepared to get in there and perform.”

Ingram had high praise for his other players that have stepped up. He said he still expects them to continue to perform well going into the MVC tournament Nov. 24 to 26.

“[Freshman setter] Alayna Martin is our starting setter of the next three to four years and it’s on her now to perform,” he said. “She’s doing a fantastic job with the position that she’s in.”

In her six matches since Viggars broke her finger, Martin has had 95 assists in time split with senior setter Hannah Kaminsky.

A far more experienced Saluki is replacing Rosignol’s time.

“With the middle position, McKenzie [Dorris is] more than capable of getting there and performing,” Ingram said. “It’s a great job for those that are having the opportunity to step in and they’re doing it.”

Dorris got two kills in the match Friday against Evansville, the first since Rosignol got injured.

“We need to get the two huge wins this weekend that will definitely put us in a really good position,” Kaminsky said. “Focusing everyday at practice on what Wichita State and Missouri State are going to do, and not looking too far ahead, but focusing on what’s right in front of you. That’s the biggest thing we can do right now.”

Staff writer Jonathan Thompson can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @TheReal_Jt3.

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

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