Salukis secure tournament position

By Gus Bode

For the first time in five years the SIU volleyball team won’t spend Thanksgiving at home.

The Salukis (15-15, 7-11 Missouri Valley Conference) claimed the sixth and final spot for the MVC Tournament on Friday night with a win over Indiana State (3-23, 0-18 MVC).

This will be the first time since 2002 and the first time for fourth year head coach Brenda Winkeler that the Salukis advance to the tournament, which will begin Friday in Springfield, Mo.


Going into the match, SIU was tied with Evansville for the final spot but claimed it after a sweep of the Sycamores (30-21, 30-19, 31-29). The Purple Aces dropped their road game to Illinois State, giving up any hopes of a tiebreaker to give the Salukis the possession of the final spot.

Freshman outside hitter Jennifer Berwanger led the Saluki attack with 13 kills, six digs and four blocks and sophomore middle blocker Marina Medic had 11 kills and four block assists.

Libero Kristy Elswick also added a match high 16 digs in the effort.

With their playoff spot secured, the Salukis traveled to Normal where they faced the No. 4 team in the MVC.

Illinois State (19-10, 11-7 MVC) came out powerful – compiling a .236 hitting percentage on the night and swept SIU in straight sets (30-21, 30-27,30-24).

It was the play of Berwanger that again carried the Salukis as she recorded 12 kills, eight digs and two blocks.

Junior setter Brooklyn Robbins had a career night as she tallied her 10th career double-double with 32 assist and 13 digs in the effort.


As they end the regular season, the Salukis had the best number of overall wins and conference wins since 2002 with 15 and 7 respectively.

On Friday, the Salukis will face No. 3 seed Creighton in the MVC tournament at 12:30 p.m.

In their two meetings this season, the Salukis walked away winless against the Bluejays as they were swept in their Oct. 6 meeting and finished 3-1 in their final Nov. 2 match up.

The winner of game one will then take on No. 2 seed Northern Iowa in the semi-final round at 7:30 p.m.

Megan Kramper can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 282 or [email protected].