Salukis fall in first game of Memphis season opener

By Janae Mosby, Staff Reporter

SIU Volleyball (0-1) took on the University of Memphis (1-0) for their season opener and fell 3-1 to the Tigers after fighting their way back from a 2-0 deficit.

Memphis topped Southern in kills (56-45), service aces 7-4), blocks (12-8) and digs (78-66). Redshirt senior middle hitter Emma Baalman led SIU in kills (10), blocks (2) and service aces (3).

Memphis started the first set by taking the lead, 3-1, after two attack errors each from SIU senior hitter Kyra Hunter and SIU redshirt freshman outside hitter Bailey Neuberger.


The Tigers increased their lead, 6-1, after kills from sophomore outside hitter Gigi Crescenzo, freshman right side hitter Autumn Hamilton and freshman outside hitter Sam Drewry.

The Salukis ended Memphis’ six-point run with a kill from Neuberger.

Memphis went on a four-point run shortly after the kill, giving them the lead 10-2.

Southern chipped away at the Tigers lead with kills from freshman outside hitter Tatum Tornatta closing the score gap to 10 points, 18-8.

Both teams traded kills near the end of the first set, but Memphis came out on top, 25-13, with a kill from junior middle hitter Miaya Smith.

The Tigers led SIU in kills in the first set 14-12.

Scoring was close at the start of the second set, but the Salukis took the lead for the first time, 7-6, on an error from Memphis.


Neither team was able to go on a run, with the lead changing several times.

Memphis gained a two-point lead, 15-13, from attack errors by Tornatta.

The Tigers went on a three-point run near the end of the second set increasing their lead 20-15.

The Salukis fought to decrease the lead with kills from redshirt junior outside hitter Hannah Becker and Baalman, and attack errors from Memphis helped their cause bringing the score to 21-19 

Memphis ended Southern’s scoring run with a block from Hamiltion and junior middle blocker Andrea O’Connor.

The Tigers took the second set, 25-21, after a kill from Crescenzo giving them a 2-0 lead.

Memphis gained the lead early in the third set, 3-2, after a kill and service ace from Drewry.

Both teams traded points until SIU gained a three-point lead, 10-7, after a kill and service ace from Baalman. 

Despite several kills from the Tiger’s, Southern kept the lead, 14-10.

The Salukis increased their lead, 19-13, with kills from Becker, redshirt senior outside hitter Savannah Sheridan and freshman middle hitter Imani Hartfield.

Southern took the third set, 25-18, after a kill from Sheridan making the game 2-1.

SIU began the fourth set with a five-point run.

The run ended after an attack error from Hamiliton giving the Tigers their first point of the set. 

Memphis decreased the Saluki lead, 7-6, after kills from Crescenzo and Smith.

The Tigers gained the lead for the first time in the fourth set after an attack error from Tatum and a kill from Drewry making the score 12-11.

Both teams traded kills near the end of the fourth set, neither gaining more than a one-point lead.

Memphis closed out the game winning the fourth set, 25-21, after a kill from sophomore right side hitter Jada Birkel taking the 3-1 win.

The Salukis will remain in Tennessee and take on the Tigers for a second time on Jan. 23 at 5 p.m.


Staff reporter Janae Mosby can be reached at or on Twitter at @mosbyj.

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