Daily Egyptian

SIU volleyball drops weekend opener to No. 23 Western Kentucky

Junior+middle+hitter+Alex+Rosignol+goes+for+a+kill+Saturday%2C+Sept.+3%2C+2016%2C+during+SIU%E2%80%99s+3-1+loss+to+Northern+Arizona+at+SIU+Arena.+%28Sean+Carley+%7C+%40SCarleyDE%29
Junior middle hitter Alex Rosignol goes for a kill Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, during SIU’s 3-1 loss to Northern Arizona at SIU Arena. (Sean Carley | @SCarleyDE)

Junior middle hitter Alex Rosignol goes for a kill Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, during SIU’s 3-1 loss to Northern Arizona at SIU Arena. (Sean Carley | @SCarleyDE)

Junior middle hitter Alex Rosignol goes for a kill Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, during SIU’s 3-1 loss to Northern Arizona at SIU Arena. (Sean Carley | @SCarleyDE)

By Jesse Robertson

Saluki volleyball went into this weekend facing its toughest test so far this season and stumbled in the first step.

SIU suffered its second loss of the year and dropped its first game of the Holiday Inn University Plaza Invitational to host school No. 23 Western Kentucky 3-1 (25-17, 25-18, 21-25, 25-19).

The first set was all Western Kentucky as the team hurried to a 16-9 lead and wouldn’t look back to take the set.

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The Hilltoppers (7-1) were led to victory by junior outside hitter Alyssa Cavanaugh who had a match-high 16 kills and sophomore middle hitter Rachel Anderson who added 13 kills of her own.

WKU’s defense stood tall in the first set as SIU (6-2) had just a .081 hitting percentage in the first set compared to the Hilltoppers’ .368.

Assistant coach Todd Nelson consults his team Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, during SIU’s 3-1 loss to Northern Arizona at SIU Arena. (Sean Carley | @SCarleyDE)

Assistant coach Todd Nelson consults his team Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, during SIU’s 3-1 loss to Northern Arizona at SIU Arena. (Sean Carley | @SCarleyDE)

Saluki junior middle hitter Kolby Meeks had four kills with a .800 hitting percentage in the set. Overall, Meeks had nine kills in the match with three blocks.

The second set was much closer early as the two teams battled to a 13-13 tie before Western Kentucky went on a 5-12 run to take the set 18-25.

The third set was a comeback set for the Salukis as they came back from a 21-17 deficit on a 8-0 run to avoid a sweep and take the set.

The Salukis were unable to complete the comeback in the fourth set as the Hilltoppers took a 10-20 lead and would hold on to win the opening match.

SIU’s .067 hitting percentage compared to .235 for Western Kentucky. The Dawgs hit above 30 percent just one set out of four in the match.

Things don’t get much easier for the Dawgs, facing No. 26 Michigan State tomorrow at 11 a.m. and Cincinnati at 3 p.m.

Staff writer Jesse Robertson can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3333.

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