Salukis continue scorching play

Salukis continue scorching play

By Tyler Dixon

It has been two weeks since the SIU volleyball team knew what it was like to lose a match.

The Salukis are riding a four-game winning streak and find themselves fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference standings.

SIU traveled to the University of Evansville Friday to take on the Purple Aces and the morale was high as the team was coming off wins against Drake University and the University of Northern Iowa, whom they had not beaten since 1993.

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The cards fell in the Aces’ favor in the first set as they were able to string multiple runs together and came away with the set win 18-25. The second set featured 14 ties with the Salukis narrowly getting the win 25-23. SIU controlled the third set and led from the beginning as they went up two sets to one with a 25-20 third-set win.

The Salukis had a six-point lead in the fourth and did not look back. SIU got the match win with a 25-17 win in the fourth set.

Freshman setter Hannah Kaminsky capped off her second MVC Freshman of the Week honor with an impressive performance against Evansville. She finished with 51 assists, 15 digs and four kills.

Kaminsky said her team is feeling good and looking forward to the second half of the MVC season.

“The morale’s good, we’re all super excited that we’ve won four in a row,” Kaminsky said. “We’re happy that we closed out the first round of conference with a win.”

Kaminsky was not the only Saluki that played well Friday. Seven SIU players combined for 65 kills in the win. Senior outside hitter Jessica Whitehead led the way with 18 kills while senior outside hitter Elly Braaten and freshman setter Meg Viggars finished with 13.

Braaten said it is important for not only the usual suspect of Whitehead to get a majority of the kills.

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“It’s nice because there’s even distribution, it’s not all going to one position,” Braaten said. “It’s making it harder for the other side to defend.”

The team had a sideout percentage of 67 and hitting percentage improved as the match continued. They had a .135 hitting percentage in the first set loss, but a .406 hitting percentage in the fourth set that closed out the match.

The Salukis have two away matches this weekend. SIU plays at Loyola University on Friday and Bradley University Saturday. SIU beat Loyola in four sets at home earlier in the season, but fell to Bradley after winning the first two sets.

Braaten said the team did not take the loss to the Braves very well and they are ready to get their revenge.

“We were really ticked off about the Bradley game, that was a game we shouldn’t have lost,” she said. “We’re really ready coming in and we want to beat them on their home court.”

Coach Justin Ingram said he always wants his team to be first, but he likes the position they are currently in.

“As we’re continuing forward, we’re pretty pleased with the direction of the group, and feel pretty optimistic about the second half of the conference,” Ingram said.

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