SIU volleyball ends home season with victory

By Evan Jones, @EvanJones_DE

SIU volleyball (22-7, 13-3) wrapped up its home season with a 3-1 victory (25-23, 22-25, 25-20, 25-23) against Indiana State (17-15, 6-11) on Saturday.

The match was also the last home series for senior middle hitter Taylor Pippen. She finished the match with 10 kills on 21 attempts with one error and five blocks.

The match started with a close first set.

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The largest lead in the first set was a four-point lead for SIU when the score was 20-16. There were 11 ties before the media timeout at 15 points.

SIU, the Missouri Valley Conference’s best blocking team, was out blocked in the first set 3-2. The match ended with the Salukis leading in the block department 16-6.

A big block on Andrea Estrada tied the score at 23. Two straight SIU points gave the first set to the Salukis.

Both teams hit below their team average for attack efficiency in the first set. ISU hit .200 while SIU hit for a .189 efficiency. 

Two early aces for Indiana State senior setter Erika Nord set the pace for the Sycamores in the second set. Her second ace gave the Sycamores a 6-3 lead, and started a 7-1 run for the Sycamores.

They didn’t trail for the remainder of the set.

SIU forced two ties in the back half of the second set. After the score went to 20-20, Indiana State scored three straight points that gave the Sycamores a lead the Salukis could not overcome.

In the third set SIU tallied five blocks. Pippen and junior setter Meg Viggars both had three blocks. 

SIU was forced to switch to a one setter system with junior setter Hannah Kaminsky out due to a sickness. This was the second match she missed this weekend.

“It didn’t really affect us tonight,” Viggars said. “We played it last night, so we were pretty comfortable with it for this match anyways.”

Viggars finished with 52 assists, 12 digs and four blocks.

The start of the fourth set saw eight ties through 16 points. The match was tied 1-1 all the way until the score was 8-8. There were three lead changes after that score.

Pippen had two solo blocks in three rallies in the fourth set and finished the match with five blocks.

“At practice we have really been focusing on defense,” Pippen said. “Going into this weekend I did a lot better with blocking than I ever have.”

After a 5-0 run for the Sycamores led by another two services aces by Nord. SIU responded with three straight points to take the set and the match.

The win Saturday ended a four-match homestand that lasted three weeks. SIU went 4-0 in that time and finished the season with a 8-1 record in Davies Gym.

“We’ve said it all along — it’s a different environment than anywhere in the league,” coach Justin Ingram said. “We love playing here. It’s our home.”

SIU plays Wichita State at 7 p.m. on Friday in Wichita, Kansas. 

Evan Jones can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @EvanJones_DE

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