Salukis shift playing time before fall back

By Aaron Graff

SIU volleyball started the second half of Missouri Valley Conference play last week with a new look to the lineup.

Coach Justin Ingram put freshman middle hitter Alex Rosignol into the starting lineup Oct. 24 against Indiana State for sophomore middle hitter McKenzie Dorris. Ingram stuck with that decision this weekend against Bradley and Northern Iowa.

“[Rosignol] had a pretty solid week of practice again,” Ingram said. “We certainly need to make sure we pay attention to the progress within competition during the practices. I think [freshman middle hitter] Anna [Himan] and Mckenzie are both very close right now to getting in the lineup.”

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Dorris has started 16 of the 19 matches she’s played in. She has not played since Rosignol was named a starter. Despite losing playing time, Dorris said there is no tension between her and Rosignol.

“I try to support her and give her pointers and stuff if I see anything that she needs to improve on,” Dorris said. “I’ll let her know. We’re really helpful with each other.”

Dorris said she is happy with her role and is working hard to get back into the lineup. She said she has dealt with knee pain for a while, but the rest is helping her.

Rosignol said she concentrated on blocking to get into the lineup. She said she expects to play again next weekend, but the coaches have not made the decision yet.

“I haven’t been told,” Rosignol said. “I think after [Friday] I kind of expect to because I had a big game.”

Rosignol had the highest hitting efficiency on Friday with 7 kills and 6 block assists.

SIU is 3-1 since Rosignol made her first start.

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The middle hitter position is not the only spot up for grabs. Ingram pulled freshman outside hitter Abby Barrow from the Oct. 25 match against Illinois State for sophomore outside hitter Yael Benjamin. Barrow ended the match with a -.143 hitting percentage.

“I didn’t have my best match,” Barrow said. “When she came in and got kills right off the bat, that what was best for our team at that time. Obviously there’s no jealousy or anything there because I wasn’t having a good game that night.”

Barrow is not a regular starter, but has played in 24 of the team’s 25 matches this season.

Ingram stuck with Barrow this weekend, and she led the team with her personal highest hitting efficiency of the season at .550 against Loyola. She also led the team with 12 kills.

“This last week we’ve done some things within the offense, within the tempo of the sets that went towards Abby’s favor,” Ingram said. “We’ve been setting a bit higher than we had in the past. She’s far more aggressive and efficient within that tempo set.”

The Saluki volleyball team has five more matches including its final home matches against Northern Iowa at 7 p.m., Friday and against Drake at 7 p.m., Saturday. Ingram said playing time is still open for the taking.

“I think I’ve contributed pretty well to the team,” Dorris said. “Whatever is best for the team, I think everyone’s happy with. As long as we’re producing wins and doing really well and working really well with each other, I think everyone’s happy with that.”

Aaron Graff can be contacted at [email protected], on Twitter @Aarongraff_DE or 536-3311 ext. 269

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