SIU falls to UNI at the Dig for the Cure Game

By Tamar Mosby, Sports Reporter

Saluki Volleyball fell in their annual “Dig For the Cure” game against the University of Northern Iowa (14-6, 8-0 MVC) losing in four sets.

SIU came into the match-up looking to win their first conference game having lost their last six, while the Panther’s came into tonight on a 7-0 win streak in conference play.

“They are the best in the league right now,” Saluki head coach Kari Thompson said. “So what better to set our goals from [than] that match and move forward from here.”

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The Panthers are ranked fifth nationally in assists per set and sixth nationally in kills per set.

In conference play UNI has only lost three sets in their last seven games.

“If you can take a set from Northern Iowa, especially with the year they’re having, that’s a good thing,” said Thompson. “I am happy with that.”

In the match-ups all-time history UNI leads Southern 56-13 with a win being added to the Panthers tonight.

The first set saw the Panthers off to a 3-0 scoring run against the Salukis.

The run was then broken by two back-to-back Southern kills with one being from sophomore opposite hitter Maggie Nedoma and the other being from sophomore setter and hitter Rachel Maguire.

Nedoma went on to finish the game leading the team with ten kills and two service aces, while Maguire finished with six kills and one service ace.

UNI rallied to go on another scoring run of 6-2, putting the Dawgs down by five.

SIU fought back tallying their own 4-0 scoring run that was fueled by a service ace from sophomore libero Keera Clarke and one kill a piece from senior middle blocker Patience Brown and Maguire.

Clarke finished the game leading the team in digs with 11.

Thompson later commended Clarke on her passing after tonight’s match-up.

“I love what Keera has been doing,” Thompson said. “We made the switch at Indiana because she has been one of our most consistent passers.”

This run was not enough to regain the lead for the Salukis and they lost the set 25-15.

In the second set the Panthers returned to the court immediately going on a 6-2 scoring run against the Dawgs.

Southern trailed UNI until the set was tied at 12-12 when the Salukis hit a 3-0 scoring run that was fueled by blocking and net defense from junior middle hitter Lindsey Paulsen.

Paulsen lead the team in blocks tonight with four.

“We knew they were going to take swings at our block so we worked on it in practice,” Thompson said.

After the tie, the game remained close with both teams trading points, but the Salukis were still trailing the Panthers.

SIU rallied on a service ace from Maguire and the score tied once again at 21-21.

The Dawgs fought point for point going on a 4-2 run in the final minutes of the set and winning it 25-23.

Set three saw the Panthers off to another immediate 10-4 scoring run with the Salukis struggling to put points on the board.

The Panthers continued to tally points going on another scoring run of 10-2, bringing the score to 20-8 with Southern trailing.

The Dawgs did not have the momentum to gain the lead and lost the third set 25-10.

In the fourth and final set of the game, UNI’s start proved to be no different than the previous set with the Panthers taking a commanding lead over SIU going on a 10-3 scoring run.

This large run was broken on a kill from Nedoma, but the kill could not create momentum for Southern and they continued to trail throughout the set eventually losing it 25-18.

Coach Thompson stated that tonight’s game added to the learning process for Saluki Volleyball letting them know what needs to be improved.

“It does show us where we need to get better,” Thompson said. “I think the most important thing to take from this, is how we did well and what we can improve to get better.”

The Salukis (4-16, 0-7 MVC) will take their home court again tomorrow night against Drake University. The first serve is set for 7 p.m.

Sports reporter Tamar Mosby can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @mosbytamar.

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