Ed Allen Era begins with 1-2 weekend in Saint Louis

By Zach Kramer, Sports Reporter

This weekend, the Saluki volleyball team competed in the Marcia Hamilton Classic hosted at Saint Louis University.

SIU went 1-2 with the victory coming over Middle Tennessee State, and losses to Portland State and Saint Louis.

Southern opened up the classic against Portland State on Friday.

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The Salukis got behind early in the first set and trailed by at least six for most of the opening frame.

Portland State got to the set point with a kill by sophomore outside hitter Parker Webb to make it 24-13, but SIU rattled off six straight points. The Vikings took the first set, 25-19.

Portland State built an early 5-1 advantage in the second set. SIU cut the lead 22-19 but that was all that they could get as the Vikings won the set on three straight points. 

The two sides battled for the advantage for much of the third frame with no team leading by no more than two at the midway point.

 The Salukis’ largest lead of the match was 18-14, but the Vikings countered with 11 of the next 13 points and eight straight points to seal the win. 

Junior setter/hitter Rachel Maguire finished  the game a dig shy of Southern’s first triple-double since 2016. She also tied her career high with 12 kills, 20 assists and nine digs. 

The Salukis (0-1) had 30 total errors, including seven service errors and nine receiving errors, according to head coach Ed Allen.

“We didn’t defend or pass very well,” Allen said. “Those are the two things that cost us the most.”

The Salukis also played Saint Louis and Middle Tennessee State to cap off the weekend of the Marcia Hamilton Classic. 

 The next day of the classic was a matchup for the Dawgs against the Saint Louis Billikens.

The Salukis were looking to build off of the loss they had the previous night against the Vikings (1-0)

The Billikens got off to a fast start, jumping out to a 13-5 lead in the first set.

SIU started to come back, making the score 23-15, but ended up losing their first set 25-16.

The Salukis finished off that set with nine kills and the Billikens had 13 kills.

After a kill by the Billikens, SIU took an early lead in the second set, 2-1.

An attack error by  junior outside hitter Maya Taylor gave the Salukis a comfortable lead in the second set, 5-1.

An error by Maguire gave the Salukis another point as they  then led in the second set 6-1.

A service error by  freshman outside hitter Alex Washington gave the Billikens another point to make it 8-2.

Two kills, one by junior middle hitter Lindsey Paulen, and another by sophomore outside hitter Hannah Becker prompted a 3-0 run, giving the Salukis a nine point lead.

The Billikens chipped their way back into the second set cutting the Saluki lead down to 15-10 after a kill by senior outside hitter Sien Gallup.

The Billikens continued to fight as they came to within one point at 17-16  in the second set. 

Southern led 23-19 after an attack error occurred by Paulsen.

Although the Billikens scored eight consecutive points, SIU was able to close out the second set with a 25-21 victory.

The third set started off as a back and forth affair after an attack error by Becker tied the score up at 4-4. 

Both teams struggled to pull ahead after a kill by junior middle blocker Juliana Phillips knotted the score at seven.

Southern went on a 3-0 scoring run after a ball handling error by junior setter Kennedy Cordia gave the Dawgs a 15-12 lead.

SLU came back within one after a 3-0 run for them and eventually took a one point lead after a service ace.

An attack error by Washington gave the Billikens a scoring run as they then took the lead 21-18 in the third set.

SIU got down by as many as four but after a 2-0 run and a 3-0 a kill from Maguire tied the score back up at 23 each.

Southern then jumped out to a brief one point lead after a service error by SLU and a kill by Paulsen.

After a net violation by the Billikens, the set became tied at 30 each.

A kill by  Taylor finally ended the third set 36-34 as the Billikens then took a 2-1 set lead heading into the fourth set.

Saint Louis jumped out to a 7-3 lead after a kill by Gallop.

Two more kills by Gallop pushed the Billikens lead out to five and two consecutive attack errors by the Salukis pushed the lead out to 18-9.

SIU tried to claw their way back into the game after four straight points including two kills by Becker pulled the Dawgs within two.

SLU won the third set 25-18 with a kill from Taylor finishing the set. 

SIU fell to 0-2 and would then play Middle Tennessee State in their next game of the day.

Southern battled in their second game on Saturday against the Raiders of Middle Tennessee breaking a nine all tie, with a 3-0 run with kills from junior opposite hitter Emma Baalman and Maguire. 

The Raiders battled back within one point twice even tying the first set up at 17 after a service ace.

A kill by Baalman and junior outside hitter Savannah Sheridan pushed the Dawgs out to a 24-21 lead.

Maguire finished the first set with a kill to give Southern the 25-23 win in the first set.

In the second set, the Salukis jumped out to an 11-3 lead after an ace by Maguire and an attack error on the Raiders.

After pulling out to the eight point lead the Raiders biggest scoring run was only 3-0 as SIU won the second set 25-14

Southern was looking to clinch the victory in the third set and had a 5-3 lead after a service error.

There were six ties early in the third set, but the Blue Raiders were able to break a 10 all tie with a five to one scoring run making it 15-11. 

The Raiders maintained the lead after their scoring run, defeating the Dawgs 25-19 in the third set.

SIU faced a 12 all tie in the fourth set and they answered with a 5-0 run of their own with four attack errors by Middle Tennessee to push out a 17-12 lead.

The Blue Raiders came within one three times, but a 3-0 run by the Dawgs ended in a fourth set win for SIU.

The win marked the first of the Allen era for Southern and he was impressed by how the women played this weekend.

“We [were] pleased at the way the weekend progressed as it should- we got better every time that we went out on the floor,”  Allen said. “We saw tremendous improvements today not only in our ability to execute a game plan but in our ability to compete.”

SIU (1-2) is back in action next weekend as they host the Saluki Bash in the Banterra Center. The Salukis will start off on Friday at 12:30 by taking on Alabama A&M. 

Zach Kramer, Sports Reporter, can be reached at [email protected]

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