Volleyball upsets Shockers in five sets at Davies

Volleyball upsets Shockers in five sets at Davies

By Tyler Dixon

The women’s volleyball team started the weekend with a tough loss, but ended it with a win over conference and national power, the Wichita State University Shockers.

SIU welcomed Missouri State University to Davies Gym Friday for the annual Dig for the Cure match and the Shockers Saturday.

The highlight of the two matches this weekend was the five-set thriller Friday against Wichita State.

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SIU started the match hot and took the first set 25-23. Despite losing the set, the Shockers bench could be heard throughout the gym. Wichita State was chanting and getting its team pumped up.

The Salukis were able to grab another win in the second set 25-21 and headed into the third with a two set to nothing lead.

The Shockers got the charge they needed during the break and came into the third set, not wanting to head back to Kansas early.

Wichita State led the entire third set and came away with a 25-19 win. In the fourth, SIU went on a rally toward the end of the set, but the deficit was too much to overcome as they fell 25-21 and were forced into a fifth set.

The Salukis were let out of their cage in the fifth and won the match 3-2 with a 15-11 win in the final set.

Senior outside hitter Jessica Whitehead improved her season average and finished with 25 kills. Senior outside hitter Elly Braaten and sophomore middle blocker Taylor Pippen each finished with 12.

Junior defensive specialist Alex Rivera had 23 digs in the win, but the biggest came in the fifth off of a Shocker kill attempt, she kept the point alive and the Salukis won the point.

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Freshman setter Hannah Kaminsky had a key service ace in the fifth to put SIU up 14-10.

Kaminsky said she hit the ball in the zone that Coach Justin Ingram told her. She said her team entered the fifth set knowing they were going to win the match.

“It was a good feeling, I was like let’s get this ball over,” Kaminsky said. “I knew we were going to put it down.”

Whitehead said even if the Shockers had a big kill, her team did not let it bother them and they focused on the next point.

“We didn’t give up or anything,” she said. “We just kept fighting and going for it.”

Ingram said he knew coming into the match against Wichita State that his team was dangerous, and they can beat any team on any given night.

“We have high expectations for the group, and need to control what we can but certainly need to enjoy this moment,” Ingram said.

One reason for the Salukis’ great play Saturday was the disappointing loss to the Bears the night before.

The Salukis dropped the first set Friday against the Bears 25-23, but fought back in the second and took it 25-20. The rest of the match was all Missouri State. They won the third 25-21 and closed out the match with a narrow win in the fourth 25-23.

Ingram said the key to the match was his team’s defense.

“The bottom line of the match was we couldn’t defend their quick, and we couldn’t defend anything to our left side blockers,” Ingram said.

Whitehead led the Salukis in kills with 17 while two other players finished with double-digit kills. Braaten finished with 12 kills and Pippen tallied 11 in the loss.

Whitehead said her team communication was lacking in the match and they were not helping each other fix mistakes.

“The first and third games, we really weren’t talking that much, I honestly don’t think everybody was ready,” Whitehead said. “We didn’t come out to fight and they were ready to battle.”

More than 500 fans packed Davies in pink for Dig for the Cure against the Bears. Ingram said his team would always support breast cancer awareness.

“It’s nationwide, the Dig for the Cure and we feel great about any kind of promotions we can do that are going to help out the betterment of others,” Ingram said.

The Salukis will head to Iowa next weekend to face the University of Northern Iowa Friday and Drake University Saturday. These will conclude the team’s last road trip of the season.

Tyler Dixon can be reached at [email protected] or 536-3311 ext. 269.

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