Spt_dreighke_mb_10/28, SIU volleyball picks up two more

By Gus Bode

Salukis crush Creighton, Drake; Kemner sets all-time kills-digs double-doubles record

The only weapon Drake and Creighton had against the SIU volleyball team during the weekend was the ability to incite boredom, and both used it early, often and effectively.

But the Dawgs ran them over anyway.

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The Salukis (18-7, 9-4 Missouri Valley Conference) took less than three total hours to dismantle the Bulldogs and Bluejays during the weekend at Davies Gymnasium, beating both of them in straight games despite an occasional lack of interest in what was going on.

The matches were so docile that some members of the team were on the verge of yawning while on the court with Drake (4-21, 2-11) and Creighton (1-19, 1-12), who are known as big, slow teams.

“It was boring out there,” said senior outside hitter Tara Cains of Saturday night’s match against Drake. “I was so bored. Seriously, that was the most boring game of volleyball I’ve ever played in my life.”

Despite the tedium that, along with an abnormally high temperature in Davies, threatened to lull SIU to sleep, the Salukis downed the Bulldogs 30-23, 30-21 and 30-27.

The match’s outcome was foreshadowed from the very first serve. The ball did not even reach SIU’s side of the net Saturday until the Dawgs were up 4-0. A few points later, senior Yoko Hattori, a back row defensive specialist who averages 0.02 kills per game, put down a kill that landed at least two feet from the nearest Bulldog.

In game two Drake had only nine kills to go with 11 errors for a -0.54 hitting percentage.

It did not get much better for Drake. The Bulldogs did not possess a lead in the match until game three, going up 15-12 before quickly relinquishing it.

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Though the Drake match was one-sided, many SIU players were not satisfied with what they considered a sub-par performance Saturday night.

“We made a few more mistakes than I would have liked for a game like this,” said setter Britten Follett. “We gave them a few too many points.”

The Salukis were happier with Friday night’s match against Creighton. SIU bombed the Bluejays 30-14, 30-21 and 30-27 and had nothing but positive things to say after the match regarding its performance.

“We had control of the match the whole time,” Follett said. “They made a lot of errors, especially in the first game, and if you get down 2-0 on someone else’s home court, it’s pretty hard to come back.”

The team said it simply outpaced Creighton, nullifying the Bluejays’ superior size with its speed and making its defense seem non-existent at times.

Early in game three, Lindsey Schultz nearly decapitated a Creighton player after beating a Bluejay blocker to the net, something head coach Sonya Locke said was the epitome of what her team succeeded in doing during the weekend.

“Did you see when Lindsey Schultz dang near took that girls head off?” Locke said. “That’s what tempo is.”

The team’s quick offense helped senior outside hitter Kristie Kemner to continue her attack on the SIU record books during the weekend. Kemner recorded two kill-dig double-doubles during the weekend, making her first all-time.

She accumulated 31 kills during the weekend and is now only 24 away from Dana Olden’s 10-year-old kills record.

The weekend victories improved SIU’s conference record to 9-4, only one-half of a game behind Friday’s opponent, Bradley, for third place. Wichita State recorded an upset victory over Illinois State Saturday, putting a full two games between the Salukis and the fifth-place Redbirds.

SIU needs only a single victory or an Indiana State loss to clinch a berth in the conference tournament, so the rest of the season’s focus will be on overtaking Bradley and earning a No. 3 seed.

“We don’t want to just get there,” Locke said. “We want to go in at the highest possible seed we can get, and that means we have to keep winning.”

Reporter Michael Brenner can be reached at [email protected]

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