SIU volleyball to battle Redbirds for first MVC win

By Gus Bode

Salukis to host both ISUs for Homecoming weekend

Both SIU and Illinois State will battle for their first Missouri Valley Conference victory of the season in today’s 7 p.m. volleyball match at Davies Gymnasium.

The Salukis (4-13, 0-6) and the Redbirds are winless in the conference and are looking at this weekend to turn things around.


The Dawgs, who are off to their worst conference start in school history, want it bad.

“Everybody on the team feels pretty much the same way – we want that win,” junior middle blocker Carrie Shephard said.

Each team realizes this opening match of the weekend could go a long way in helping the winner to climb out of the MVC cellar.

“There’s no question this is a pretty big weekend for both teams,” Illinois State head coach Sharon Dingman said. “We’re both in the same boat, looking for that first win.”

Unfortunately for Illinois State (6-10, 0-5), it will have to do so without one of its best players.

Sophomore outside hitter Laura Doornbos severely sprained her right ankle in the Redbirds’ 3-2 victory over DePaul Tuesday night and has been ruled out for the weekend.

Trainers evaluated the team leader in kills and kills per game Thursday to determine her availability for the long term, which will be known soon.


“It is just one of those unfortunate things that happen, but it’s not a fracture and we’re really happy about that,” Dingman said. “It’s hard when you have over four kills a game sitting on the bench.”

Dingman will weigh a number of options to replace Doornbos, including freshman Maura McCarthy. But whoever it is, Dingman expects her players to continue to rally around their fallen teammate.

“I loved the way our team responded in [Tuesday’s] match,” Dingman said. “We kept going, and that’s what you hope happens, that your other players step it up.

“There’s other ways to score besides Laura’s four kills, and that’s what we’re going to be focusing on.”

The injury will not affect how head coach Sonya Locke and the Salukis prepare for the Redbirds. Locke still expects them to put up a fight for their first MVC win, with or without Doornbos.

“We’re scouting them as if she’s going to play,” Locke said. “We’re expecting that she plays, and if it doesn’t happen it doesn’t happen.”

SIU will play host to the other ISU – Indiana State – at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Sycamores (7-7, 2-3) are led by first-year head coach Julie Krofcheck and are currently in position to take the sixth and final spot in the MVC tourney.

Senior Kylee Osbourne, who recently led Indiana State to a 3-2 victory over the Redbirds with a career-high 27 kills, leads the team in kills and kills per game and will be a force for the Dawgs to reckon with.

Despite the new coaching staff, Locke doesn’t expect anything out of the ordinary from the Sycamores.

“They’re pretty much the same team. They’re not really doing anything differently than they did last year,” Locke said. “They’re scrappy, they’re good offensively and they pose the same threat as in the past.”

Reporter Adam Soebbing can be reached at [email protected]