Daily Egyptian

Pippen says goodbye to Davies Gym

By Evan Jones, @EvanJones_DE

SIU volleyball’s 3-1 win Saturday night against Indiana State ended a four-match home stand and was the final home game this season.

It was also senior middle hitter Taylor Pippen’s final home match inside Davies Gym.

After the match concluded, the SIU volleyball team held a ceremony for Pippen. They recognized her many accomplishments.

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Pippen played in 39 matches under the yellow lights of Davies gym in her career. Four days a week SIU volleyball holds practice in Davies, Pippen called the gym her home.

“I love playing at Davies, it’s become a second home to me,” Pippen said. “Ending my career here is pretty sad.”

Before the match on Saturday, Pippen was No. 3 in the Missouri Valley Conference for hitting percentage, a stat she led last season, No. 4 in the MVC in blocks and No. 28 in the country for hitting percentage. All of that while dealing with a right shoulder injury. She has worn a brace since sitting out for six matches from Sept. 15 to Oct. 2. She dislocated her shoulder in the match against Illinois State on Oct. 17.

Pippen’s career stats put her on top of several records in SIU history. 

She is No. 1 for career attack percentage with .345, career block assists with 404, and No. 4 for career sets played with 433.

Last season Pippen set the season record for hitting efficiency with .410. That led the conference and was ranked No. 11 nationally. 

As successful as Pippen has been for the Salukis, it is her work off the court that impresses coach Justin Ingram the most.

“She defines the term student-athlete,” Ingram said. “She’s great in the classroom, she’s great on the court and great in the community. I think those are three staples you should strive to get to.”

Along with her recognition on the court, Pippen was named Prairie Farms Student Athlete of the Week this week, and has earned other awards this season, including Academic all-district, the State Farm MVC Good Neighbor Award and she was a finalist for the CLASS award earlier this season.

Thursday, Pippen and four of her teammates helped run the volleyball portion of the Special Olympics in Carbondale. 

Pippen is the only senior on this year’s team. Ingram said she cannot be replaced.

Junior setter Meg Viggars, Pippen’s roommate and best friend, is going to miss Pippen for reasons other than her performances on the court.

“She’s the person we bully the most,” Viggars said. “We’re going to miss her because we don’t know who is going to take it next.”

The SIU volleyball team took to Twitter before Pippen’s final match to bully her one last time. Pictures of Pippen were posted with #TayPipSeniorRoast in an attempt to get more fans in the stands for the final home match of the season.

Pippen said she wasn’t a fan of the posts, but was able to find the humor in the situation.

This season, SIU volleyball has won 22 matches, the most Pippen has ever won in a season, and is currently No. 2 in the MVC standings with two more matches remaining. The team has a chance to win the regular season MVC title next weekend.

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

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