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SIU volleyball closes out regular season with tough five-set loss

Senior+libero+and+outside+hitter+Mariana+Pilon+bumps+the+ball+to+a+teammate+Saturday%2C+Nov.+19%2C+2016%2C+during+the+Salukis%27+2-3+loss+to+Missouri+State+in+Davies+Gym.++
Senior libero and outside hitter Mariana Pilon bumps the ball to a teammate Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016, during the Salukis' 2-3 loss to Missouri State in Davies Gym.

Senior libero and outside hitter Mariana Pilon bumps the ball to a teammate Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016, during the Salukis' 2-3 loss to Missouri State in Davies Gym.

(Morgan Timms | @Morgan_Timms)

(Morgan Timms | @Morgan_Timms)

Senior libero and outside hitter Mariana Pilon bumps the ball to a teammate Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016, during the Salukis' 2-3 loss to Missouri State in Davies Gym.

By Sean Carley

A shorthanded SIU volleyball team couldn’t withstand the tall task of defeating the conference’s top team.

The Salukis fell Saturday night to Missouri State 3-2 on the Dawgs’ senior night.

SIU was three points away from winning the fifth and decisive set before Missouri State went on a 5-1 run to clinch the final set and conference championship 15-13.

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For the Salukis to even be in the fifth set could be considered an upset with having senior setter Meg Viggars, junior outside hitter Abby Barrow and junior middle hitter Alex Rosignol all out with injuries.

With the three starters missing, junior outside hitter Andrea Estrada carried the team with a match-high 22 kills.

But the Dawgs had to come back from a 2-0 set deficit to even force the fifth.

Set one was closer than most of the numbers would indicate.

Missouri State outhit SIU .429 to .125 and also outblocked the Salukis 2-0. However, even with Missouri State’s seven errors, it was able to win the set 25-19.

(Morgan Timms | @Morgan_Timms)

Senior libero/outside hitter Mariana Pilon bumps the ball Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016, during the Salukis' 2-3 loss to Missouri State in Davies Gym.

MVC Player of the Year candidate junior outside hitter Lily Johnson performed as such for Missouri State.

She had six kills on only 10 attempts in the first frame.

Set two was closer statistically, but held a similar result.

Johnson got four more kills and was joined by junior middle hitter Lynsey Wright who had five in the set.

The lead changed hands six times in the second set. SIU was led offensively by junior middle hitter Andrea Estrada and freshman outside hitter Ginger Perinar who had four kills each.

Southern was able to clean up its offense with only four attack errors in set two, which resulted in a boost to their hit percentage from .125 to .241.

But it would not be enough as MSU won set two 25-20.

SIU thwarted the Bears’ attack in set three. The Salukis forced seven errors and Missouri State was held to a .152 hit percentage.

Estrada caught fire in the third set with seven kills.

It would be the beginning of a cold stretch for the Bears, who would quickly find themselves behind 10-3 in the fourth set.

The Dawgs would ride that momentum to a 25-14 set win.

Estrada continued to carry the team on her back adding another seven kills.

SIU’s main offense was its defense in the fourth set, forcing nine attack errors on the Bears. MSU didn’t help its own cause adding another two service errors.

Overall, Missouri State hit below .100 for the first time in the match at .027.

The loss clinched SIU (21-11, 12-6 MVC) into the No. 4 seed for next week’s Missouri Valley Conference tournament. It will play Illinois State on Thanksgiving in the first round.

Sports editor Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @SCarleyDE.

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

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