Daily Egyptian

SIU volleyball drops matchup to conference juggernaut Drake

Middle+blocker+Patience+Brown+eyes+the+ball+during+the+Saluki%27s+winning+game+against+the+Evansville+Purple+Aces+Sept.+29%2C+2017%2C+at+Davies+Gym.
Middle blocker Patience Brown eyes the ball during the Saluki's winning game against the Evansville Purple Aces Sept. 29, 2017, at Davies Gym.

Middle blocker Patience Brown eyes the ball during the Saluki's winning game against the Evansville Purple Aces Sept. 29, 2017, at Davies Gym.

file photo

file photo

Middle blocker Patience Brown eyes the ball during the Saluki's winning game against the Evansville Purple Aces Sept. 29, 2017, at Davies Gym.

By Ryan Demer

SIU volleyball lost another conference matchup to the Drake University Bulldogs Saturday night in four sets (16-25, 22-25, 25-17, 16-25) at the Knapp Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Salukis came into the matchup looking to end their three-game conference skid, but were unable to generate much action in the early going.

The Drake Bulldogs (18-4, 7-1 MVC) aimed to bounce back from their first conference loss of the season to Missouri State University on Friday. Southern won the regular season tilt on Sept. 24 last season against Drake and looked to do the same Saturday night.

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The Salukis saw themselves down early and struggled to dig back in the first set after a four-point run gave Drake a 4-1 lead.

The Bulldogs and Southern battled back-and-forth until junior middle blocker Patience Brown notched a kill to bring the Salukis within two at 15-13 in favor of Drake.

Drake took over from that point on, highlighted by a five-point run to take the first set from the Salukis 25-16.

The second set was a battle between both sides after the Salukis took charge with a 7-5 lead.

Drake rallied to keep the set in check, with Southern holding onto a 13-11 lead after a kill by freshman opposite hitter Maggie Nedoma.

From that point, the Bulldogs exploded for a six-point run to earn a comfortable 17-13 lead.

The Salukis powered back after a quick three-point run shrunk Drake’s lead to one point at 21-20, forcing the Bulldogs to take a strategic timeout.

Drake followed the timeout with a quick three-point run on its way to a 25-22 second set win, earning the Bulldogs a 2-0 match advantage.

SIU was determined not to let the third set get away as they built a 13-8 lead after multiple kills by senior captain outside hitter Andrea Estrada.

The Salukis never looked back, going on multiple scoring runs capped off with a kill by Estrada earning the Salukis the third set 25-17.

In the fourth set, the Salukis found themselves down 4-1 early. They battled with the Bulldogs neck-and-neck until senior middle hitter Kolby Meeks racked a kill that tied the set 10-10.

Southern was unable to generate much offense from that point, as a couple of service aces by Drake helped the team build a 20-12 lead over the Salukis.

SIU rallied to bring the set within six at 22-16, but the Bulldogs responded with three quick points to win the fourth set 25-16 to take the match win 3-1.

Estrada led the team in kills on the night with 13. She also notched 15 digs, earning yet another double-double this season.

Meeks tallied nine kills on a team-high .533 hitting percentage. She recorded five blocks in the matchup Saturday night as well.

Sophomore setter Alayna Martin recorded a team-high in assists and digs on the night, dishing out 24 assists and 16 digs.

Senior defensive libero Ashley Edelen contributed with 13 digs, while freshman setter Rachel Maguire earned a double-double with 15 assists and 12 digs.

The Salukis return home Friday night for another conference showdown against the Illinois State Redbirds. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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

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