Daily Egyptian

SIU volleyball steals win from Evansville

Senior+outside+hitter+Nellie+Fredriksson+celebrates+a++play+alongside+teammates+Friday%2C+Sept.+29%2C+2017%2C+during+the+Salukis%27+five+set+win+against+Evansville+at+Davies+Gym.+%28Brian+Mu%C3%B1oz+%7C+%40BrianMMunoz%29
Senior outside hitter Nellie Fredriksson celebrates a  play alongside teammates Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, during the Salukis' five set win against Evansville at Davies Gym. (Brian Muñoz | @BrianMMunoz)

Senior outside hitter Nellie Fredriksson celebrates a play alongside teammates Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, during the Salukis' five set win against Evansville at Davies Gym. (Brian Muñoz | @BrianMMunoz)

Brian Muñoz | @BrianMMunoz

Brian Muñoz | @BrianMMunoz

Senior outside hitter Nellie Fredriksson celebrates a play alongside teammates Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, during the Salukis' five set win against Evansville at Davies Gym. (Brian Muñoz | @BrianMMunoz)

By Ryan Demer

SIU volleyball continued their Missouri Valley Conference play Friday night at Davies Gym, defeating the Evansville Purple Aces in a five-set thriller.

SIU came into the game looking to capitalize on a weaker conference opponent. However, they were in store for a battle, as Evansville (6-9, 0-3 MVC), led by their sophomore outside hitter Rachel Tam with a whopping 27 kills, came to test the Salukis

The first set saw both teams trading points early. The Purple Aces burst ahead with a three-point run at the midpoint of the set, taking a 10-8 lead. Southern quickly responded with a four-point run of their own to retake the lead and control of the set.

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Evansville rode a back-and-forth second half to the set to a  24-23 lead, forcing a strategic Saluki timeout. A kill by senior outside hitter Nellie Fredriksson tied the match following the timeout, but Evansville claimed the next two points to claim the first set 26-24.

The second set began with a quick 4-0 run by the Purple Aces. The Salukis battled back from the early advantage to close within one point of Evansville at 21-20, but were unable to move into the lead, losing the second set 25-21 to Evansville.

After the second intermission, SIU came out firing on all cylinders. The set was swarmed with Southern scoring runs, with four different three-point runs and a match-best six-point run leading the Salukis to a dominant 25-10 third set win.

Junior middle blocker Patience Brown celebrates after a stuck block Friday Sept. 29, 2017, during the Salukis’ five set win against Evansville at Davies Gym. (Brian Muñoz | @BrianMMunoz)

After claiming the third set to move the match score to 2-1 and stave off the sweep, everything started clicking for the Saluki offense.

The fourth set saw a quick three-point run by Southern to take a quick 4-1 lead. Evansville did not go away quietly, riding a four-point run to a 16-15 set lead.

SIU regained control late in the fourth set, as they worked a 21-21 tie before riding a four-point run to finish off the set win 25-21 and tie the match 2-2..

Evansville Purple Aces senior middle blocker Kathy Schreiber serves the ball Friday Sept. 29, 2017, during the Salukis’ five set win against Evansville at Davies Gym. (Brian Muñoz | @BrianMMunoz)

The final set was well fought on both sides. Both teams continuously exchanged points to an 11-11 tie. From there, Southern blasted off a three-point run to reach match point.

However, the Aces rallied with a three-point run of their own to tie it up at 14 points apiece. The teams then traded points until a kill by senior captain outside hitter Andrea Estrada gave the Salukis a 17-15 set win and the 3-2 match victory.

“The first two sets were completely unnecessary, we played awful,” Estrada said. “We learned our lesson today that even if the opponent isn’t supposed to beat us, we need to play hard regardless.”

Four Salukis reached double-digit kills in the match. Fredriksson finished with a team-high 14 kills, matching her career high, while posting a .444 hitting percentage.

Sophomore setter Alayna Martin returns a ball Friday Sept. 29, 2017, during the Salukis’ five set win against Evansville at Davies Gym. (Brian Muñoz | @BrianMMunoz)

Estrada recorded nine kills and eight digs in the match, and also notched two service aces.

Junior middle hitter Patience Brown and senior outside hitter Abby Barrow each recorded 12 kills, with the former also collecting a career- and team-high eight blocks in the match. Freshman outside hitter Maggie Nedoma contributed with 10 kills as well.

Sophomore setter Alayna Martin posted another double-double, with 22 assists and 11 digs. Freshman setter Rachel Maguire recorded a team-high 33 assists.

Senior defensive libero Ashley Edelen had a career- and team-high 29 digs in the contest.

“I especially like the way we came out in set three,”coach Kari Thompson said. “Evansville really fought, and we didn’t really match their defensive mentality until the third set.”

SIU (4-11, 3-1 MVC) continues play Saturday night in Davies Gym against the Indiana State Sycamores. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Sports writer Ryan Demer can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @RyanDemer_DE 

To stay up to date with all your SIU sports news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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