Daily Egyptian

SIU volleyball ready for next challenge after championship win

Assistant+coach+Todd+Nelson+talks+through+a+play+during+volleyball+practice+Monday%2C+Aug.+29%2C+2016%2C+in+Davies+Gym.+%28Ryan+Michalesko+%7C+%40photosbylesko%29
Assistant coach Todd Nelson talks through a play during volleyball practice Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, in Davies Gym. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

Assistant coach Todd Nelson talks through a play during volleyball practice Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, in Davies Gym. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

Assistant coach Todd Nelson talks through a play during volleyball practice Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, in Davies Gym. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

By Jesse Robertson

On Saturday, the Salukis were champions.

But on Monday, it was right back to practice as they progress toward bigger things.   

The Salukis were energetic and had as much hustle as before they played a single set, but there was more confidence and reassurance in the practice drills, naturally coming with winning the season-opening tournament championship.

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SIU had three players recognized for their play after winning three matches, dropping only a single set, with junior outside hitter Andrea Estrada named Most Valuable Player of the IUPUI tournament. Senior middle hitter McKenzie Dorris and junior middle hitter Alex Rosignol were named to the All-Tournament team.

Then junior middle hitter McKenzie Dorris celebrates after a scored point during a match against Missouri State on Oct. 5, 2015, at Davies Gym.

Then junior middle hitter McKenzie Dorris celebrates after a scored point during a match against Missouri State on Oct. 5, 2015, at Davies Gym. (DailyEgyptian.com file photo)

Estrada was surprised at her MVP nod due to the Salukis team-oriented system.

“Since our system is changing, I’m not getting as many attempts at the ball this year,” she said. “The first two games I thought I was under my average, but then we played more sets and I got more touches. I figured I would get All-Tournament maybe but not MVP so it was a surprise.”

The Colombian plans on using the MVP nod as motivation for the Saluki Invitational, which is Friday and Saturday at SIU Arena.

“There is going to be a lot of people saying, ‘Oh she won the MVP, now let’s see what she can do at home,’” she said. “So it’s really nice and everything but keeping up with the expectations is going to be hard so I’m very motivated.”

Estrada said starting 3-0 was expected given the competition and the team will respond in a motivated manner for its home tournament.

Rosignol was satisfied with her All-Tournament nod, but was more excited about the team’s overall victory.

Junior middle hitter Alex Rosignol digs a shot during volleyball practice Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, in Davies Gym. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

Junior middle hitter Alex Rosignol digs a shot during volleyball practice Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, in Davies Gym. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

“It was nice to get the recognition because to me it finally feels like I have progressed as a player,” she said. “Winning the tournament is the much more important accomplishment.”

But the Salukis aren’t getting overconfident or forgetting their long term goal of making it to the NCAA tournament.

“We just said, ‘Hey, look we’re even better than last year and look what we did,’” Rosignol said. “So we see no reason as to why we can’t repeat and go even further but we have a long way to go.”

Assistant coach Todd Nelson said the team’s 3-0 start will lead to big things down the road and is proud of what they have accomplished so far.

“We want them to enjoy this, but we want the girls to keep looking ahead and prepare for Friday and to expect the same result,” Nelson said.

Senior outside hitter Yael Benjamin prepares to hit a ball during volleyball practice Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, in Davies Gym. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

Senior outside hitter Yael Benjamin prepares to hit a ball during volleyball practice Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, in Davies Gym. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

During practice, assistant coach Dean Torgerson and Nelson made sure the girls perfected their serves and worked heavily on digging out tough spikes.

Head coach Justin Ingram worked with players individually on the offensive side, training his players to get high in the air before spiking the ball.

With SIU’s home tournament starting 7 p.m. Friday against Central Florida, the Salukis are focused on what’s in front of them.

Staff writer Jesse Robertson can be reached at 618-536-3333.

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1 Comment

One Response to “SIU volleyball ready for next challenge after championship win”

  1. Juanita Robertson on September 3rd, 2016 7:40 am

    Good informative article!

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