Volleyball finishes strong in Saluki Invitational, looks ahead to conference play now

The+team+reacts+to+scoring+play+by+MacKenzie+Houser+during+the+Salukis+3-0+win+over+the+University+of+South+Carolina+-+Upstate+on+Friday%2C+Sept.+10%2C+2021+during+the+Saluki+Invitational+at+the+Banterra+Center+at+SIU.+

Jared Treece | @bisalo

The team reacts to scoring play by MacKenzie Houser during the Salukis 3-0 win over the University of South Carolina – Upstate on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021 during the Saluki Invitational at the Banterra Center at SIU.

Saluki Volleyball (7-5) hosted its annual Saluki Invitational this past weekend, holding a three-game set across Friday and Saturday. SIU played against Alabama A&M and SEMO on Friday, winning both, and finished out Saturday against Bellarmine, where they dropped a close match in the fifth set.

Leading the charge for the Salukis across the board was junior Tatum Tornatta, with 39 total points across the three games. She tallied 34 total kills, 10 blocks, and 10 digs throughout as well. On defense, freshman Claudia Bobb took the reigns. She led the team in digs with 47 total across the three games.

Assisting everyone was sophomore setter, Anna Jaworski, who came up with a massive 146 assists on the weekend. She also helped on defense with 27 digs as well.

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The Salukis opened up the tournament with an impressive 3-0 sweep of the Bulldogs. After a close first half, the Salukis turned the jets on for a 14-2 run to finish set one off with a win. SIU got out to a quick lead in set two, but the Bulldogs tightened things late at 19-22. Luckily a couple of Alabama errors helped the Salukis close it out for the 2-0 lead.

Set three was the same for the Salukis, with them getting out to a massive lead early and never letting back. A 14-10 lead for SIU was backed up with an 11-4 run to take the win over the Bulldogs.

Later on Friday, the Salukis won match two of the Invitational over SEMO with a 3-1 showing, taking sets 1, 2, and 4. The match was a bit closer than their previous one, winning their sets 25-18, 25-20, and 25-19, while dropping the third set 25-22.

Saturday morning brought the Salukis to face Bellarmine, where things looked headed towards a fourth straight win for SIU after taking a close first two sets by final scores of 25-23 and 25-21. However, a late comeback in set three gave Bellarmine the 26-24 win to stay alive. The Knights would win two more extremely close sets in four and five with a 25-23 final score and a long set five that went to a 27-25 final score in favor of Bellarmine.

The Dawgs will look ahead to their Missouri Valley Conference opponents the rest of the season, as they open up at Murray State against the Racers Friday, September 23rd at 6 pm. The Salukis will go for their first conference win in over two calendar years.

Sports editor Joseph Bernard can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter @Jojobernard2001. 

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