The Salukis lost two Missouri Valley Conference matchups this weekend, which halted the team’s 11-match win streak.
SIU lost in four sets to Missouri State Friday and then lost in three sets to Wichita State Saturday, which brought the team to 2-2 in conference play and 11-3 overall.
“We need to work on keying in to what is happening offensively on the other side of the net,” Coach Justin Ingram said after the game Saturday. “I saw glimpses of great, competitive volleyball. We just need to work on extending that into longer periods of time.”
Mo. State: 22-25, 26-24, 25-27, 22-25
SIU entered the match with two previous wins against MVC teams. The sets were back and forth with teams exchanging points and totaling 43 ties and 20 lead changes in the match.
A kill from junior Jessica Whitehead tied the first set at 5-5 and sent senior Alysia Mayes back to the line to serve three more points with blocks from sophomore Amy Drabant and freshman Taylor Pippen.
Neither team could get ahead in the set until the end, when Missouri State pulled out the win.
The second set was much the same with each team trading two or three points at a time. A kill by Pippen sent senior libero Bailey Yeager back to serve three points, including an ace. A kill from Mayes and a Missouri State attack error claimed the only set win for the Salukis during the weekend.
SIU fought hard in the third set with a team-high 14 kills against Missouri State’s team-high 21 kills. The teams were neck-and-neck until SIU was up 23-22 and served for set point. After playing for set point three times, Missouri State pulled ahead with a kill from sophomore outside hitter Kaitlin Jaeger, who led the team with 16 kills in the match.
The Salukis earned their biggest lead of six points in the fourth set after a five-point run. MSU then went on another five-point run with two attack errors from Whitehead and Pippen. Jaeger had two consecutive kills to end the match.
“The beginning of each set was tough for us, but we battled back each time and were never out of any set,” Ingram said.
Whitehead led the team with 16 kills, while senior Laura Thole posted a double-double with 13 kills and 14 digs. Together, the team had nine blocks.
“Missouri State used some players that we weren’t prepared for and we weren’t watching for,” Ingram said. “We didn’t respond quick enough to handle their attempts.”
Wichita State: 25-20, 25-15, 25-22
SIU started the match on top with a 6-1 lead while senior Rachael Brown served.
Wichita came back with a couple three- and four-point runs, and a kill from Thole and an attack error from Wichita put the Salukis up 13-12, which was their last lead of the set.
Twelve of SIU’s 15 points came from kills in the second set. But MSU’s offense was too much to handle as SIU never had the lead in the set.
“Wichita had a seamless offensive system that made it really difficult to defend,” Ingram said. “They passed incredibly well, which allowed them to hit at a high efficiency.”
The teams traded points in the beginning of the third set with one lead change and four ties in the set.
Thole and Whitehead contributed 12 kills each, while Mayes had 10. Yeager compiled 17 digs and Drabant had 40 assists. The Salukis are back in Carbondale Friday and Saturday when they play Creighton and Drake.