SIU volleyball bounced from MVC tournament in first round
The shorthanded Saluki volleyball team couldn’t work its way into an automatic NCAA tournament bid after losing to Illinois State on Thursday.
SIU was swept by the Redbirds in the first round of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. The loss dropped SIU to a 21-12 overall record.
SIU went into the day ranked No. 63 overall in the RPI rankings and will likely be on the outside looking in on the upcoming selection Sunday.
Illinois State was led by junior middle hitter Jaelyn Keene and senior outside hitter Aly Dawson, who each had 14 kills and hit above .480 on the match.
Things started out well for SIU as 4-0 and 6-0 runs helped give the Salukis a 12-4 lead in the first set. ISU then went on an 11-2 run and would not lose the lead, winning the set 25-19.
ISU took over early in set two, going up 14-7 en route to another 25-19 win.
Junior middle hitter Kolby Meeks had four of her seven kills in the second set.
SIU was led offensively by junior outside hitters Andrea Estrada and Nellie Fredriksson, who had 10 kills each.
Without senior setter/hitter Meg Viggars and junior outside hitter Abby Barrow, the Saluki offense was limited once again, hitting .133 in the first two sets.
Things got a little better offensively for SIU in the third set, as they hit .212, but the team allowed Illinois State to hit .467. The Redbirds would win the match-clinching set, 25-18.
Meeks and Fredriksson were the only Salukis with at least two attempts to hit above .200 on the match.
One of SIU’s biggest strengths throughout the season didn’t show up on Thursday.
The Salukis only had four blocked shots in the three sets, below their average of 2.34 blocks per set.
Senior middle hitter McKenzie Dorris had three blocks in her likely final career match.
SIU’s fate will be officially sealed at 8 p.m. Sunday when the field of 64 for the NCAA tournament is announced live on ESPNU.