Efficient offense key in Evansville sweep

Mayes posts career-high .842 hitting percentage

 The Salukis swept conference competitor Evansville with an energetic and efficient offense Friday.

The match was the team’s annual Dig for the Cure event, where the players wore pink socks and headbands to raise Breast Cancer awareness. Survivors were recognized during the match, which was sponsored by Southern Illinois Healthcare.

SIU (15-3, 5-2 MVC) is undefeated 9-0 on its home court, as Evansville (7-13, 2-5) could not keep pace with the Saluki offense’s 25-10, 25-15 and 25-18 wins.

“You have to give the girls credit,” coach Justin Ingram said. “They were incredibly focused tonight, and really capitalized on all the small opportunities they were given.”

Senior outside hitter Laura Thole passes the ball Friday against University of Evansville during the annual Dig for the Cure night at Davies Gym. Thole’s 10 kills helped the Salukis defeat the Purple Aces in three sets. The Salukis wore pink socks and sweat bands to recognize cancer survivors and signed autographs for fans after the match, which was sponsored by Southern Illinois Healthcare. The Salukis’ next match will be at 6 p.m. Friday at Bradley University in Peoria.
Chris Zoeller-Daily Egyptian

SIU took advantage of multiple Evansville errors in the first set and finished with a .441 hitting percentage compared to Evansville’s -.029. Senior middle blocker Alysia Mayes had 8 of her 16 kills in the first set.

Mayes killed 16 of her 19 attempts and posted a career-high .842 percentage, which is third best in single-match SIU history.

“She was unbelievable,” Ingram said. “With that many kills on that many attempts, you’re just not going to see that often.”

The Salukis took the second set as easily as the first with another team hitting percentage higher than .400.

Evansville came within four points twice in the third set, only for SIU to answer with a four-point run with kills from Mayes and junior outside hitter Jessica Whitehead and two blocks from freshman middle blocker Taylor Pippen.

Sophomore setter Amy Drabant ended the match with 42 assists, and senior libero Bailey Yeager had 20 digs.

The Salukis will be on the road again next weekend with a Friday match against Bradley and a Saturday match against Northern Iowa. Two of SIU’s losses this season were MVC matches on the road, but Ingram said the team is prepared.

“It’s a hard conference to just jump up and travel like that, but everybody does it,” Ingram said. “That’s just the nature of the beast.”

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