Saluki volleyball splits weekend schedule

By Gus Bode

After starting the season 11-0, the Salukis tasted defeat for the first time on their first conference road trip. SIU fell to Northern Iowa Friday, but rebounded with a victory over Bradley Saturday.

SIU (12-1, 2-1) lost the game against Northern Iowa 3-1 (23-25, 25-11, 25-11, 25-20). The Salukis edged Northern Iowa in the first game, but the Panthers outscored SIU 75-42 over the final three games.

‘After the first game, I was a little disappointed in the team,’ head coach Brenda Winkeler said. ‘I felt that the intensity was lacking and I just don’t know if they were playing really good or we were just playing really bad.’


Northern Iowa had four players with double-digit kills in the match. The Panthers held SIU to a .078 hitting percentage and only 32 kills. Junior right side Alicia Johnson led SIU with seven kills. Junior outside hitter Jennifer Berwanger was next with six kills. Berwanger’s streak of eight consecutive double-doubles ended in Iowa.

Northern Iowa (13-2, 4-0) swept Evansville 3-0 Saturday (25-14, 25-13, 25-16), improving its win streak to 11.

SIU bounced back on Saturday against Bradley, defeating the Braves in straight sets (25-18, 25-10, 25-23).

‘I think any time you take a loss, it should motivate you,’ Winkeler said.

The Salukis hit .266 and held the Braves (8-9, 0-4 MVC) to a .091 hitting percentage with 28 kills and 19 errors.

‘I think everyone was kind of worried,’ sophomore defensive specialist Lauren Blumhorst said. ‘We thought that we better win because we didn’t want to lose again like the night before.’

Berwanger led the Salukis in the match with a .458 hitting percentage, 14 kills, six digs and two service aces. Freshman middle blocker Alysia Mayes added 11 kills off the bench while hitting .409.


‘It definitely felt good to bounce back and get a win like that,’ Mayes said. ‘We were very happy with how we performed and are glad to get another win.’

SIU was Bradley’s (8-9, 0-4) second opponent of the weekend. On Friday, the Braves lost to Evansville in straight sets (27-25, 25-14, 25-21). Bradley hit .160 on the night.

‘Bouncing back from our loss was really all about character,’ Blumhorst said. ‘We decided that we were still a good team and we played our hearts out to prove we are a good team. We tried to not let Northern Iowa affect us. We will learn from that match and will try to beat them when they come here.’

The Salukis return home Friday to host Illinois State (6-9, 1-3) and Indiana State (5-10, 1-3) on Saturday. The match on Friday is ‘Pack the Gym’ night at Davies Gym.