Evansville powers past Salukis in three

Salukis+Rachel+Maguire%2C+Alayna+Martin%2C+and+Katy+react+after+an+ace+on+Friday%2C+Oct.+18%2C+2019+during+the+Salukis%27+0-3+loss+to+the+Evansville+Aces+in+Davies+gym+at+SIU.+
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Evansville powers past Salukis in three

Salukis Rachel Maguire, Alayna Martin, and Katy react after an ace on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019 during the Salukis' 0-3 loss to the Evansville Aces in Davies gym at SIU.

Salukis Rachel Maguire, Alayna Martin, and Katy react after an ace on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019 during the Salukis' 0-3 loss to the Evansville Aces in Davies gym at SIU.

Jared Treece | @jaredtreece

Salukis Rachel Maguire, Alayna Martin, and Katy react after an ace on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019 during the Salukis' 0-3 loss to the Evansville Aces in Davies gym at SIU.

Jared Treece | @jaredtreece

Jared Treece | @jaredtreece

Salukis Rachel Maguire, Alayna Martin, and Katy react after an ace on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019 during the Salukis' 0-3 loss to the Evansville Aces in Davies gym at SIU.

For their seventh conference matchup, the Southern Illinois women’s volleyball team faced the University of Evansville Purple Aces, but couldn’t find a way through long matches to take the win.

The Salukis battled through two long first sets, but Evansville took down the Salukis in three; 27-25, 29-27, and 25-18. 

First-year Saluki head coach Ed Allen said his team’s struggle to pass the ball on the first contact is what lost them the game, as well as having key players out of the game due to injuries.

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“We’ve had nine players miss matches throughout the course of this season out of the 16 that we’ve got,” Allen said.  

The Salukis (10-11; 2-5 MVC ) had lost their three latest matches, falling 3-0 in their most recent matchup against the Valparaiso Crusaders on Oct. 11. 

The Purple Aces (13-5; 4-3 MVC) had most recently faced the Indiana State Sycamores, dropping a 3-1 match on Oct. 11. 

Jared Treece | @jaredtreece
Saluki junior setter Rachel Maguire bumps the pass to start the drive on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019 during the Salukis’ 0-3 loss to the Evansville Aces in Davies gym at SIU.

The Southern Illinois men’s and women’s swimming and diving team joined the crowd at Davies Gym for the match, performing their annual Saluki Strip as they cheered on the Salukis. 

Evansville had three hitters with double-digit kills; senior outside hitter Rachel Tam led with 16 kills in the match, sophomore outside hitter Alondra Vazquez added 14, and freshman outside hitter Melanie Feliciano chipped in 10.

Junior opposite hitter Hannah Becker led the Salukis on offense with 12 kills for the match, while senior middle blocker Emma Baalman added 8 for the match on 13 attempts. 

SIU held the advantage for much of the first set, leading 18-14 late in the set, but the Purple Aces were able to find the momentum to grab the win. 

Southern Illinois found themselves one point away from the win, up 24-22, but a service ace by freshman defensive specialist Laura Ruiz and two consecutive kills by Vazquez allowed Evansville to take the first set.

SIU proved to be a force at the net in the first set against Evansville, tallying a team total of five blocks. Junior middle blocker Lindsey Paulsen led with one solo block and two block assists, while senior middle blocker Emma Baalman added one solo block and one block assist as well. 

In contrast with the first set, the Salukis and the Purple Aces battled through several long matches in the second set as they rallied point-for-point with one another. 

Evansville forced Southern Illinois to call two timeouts late into the match, as the Purple Aces made a four-point scoring run to take a 22-18 lead.

The Salukis responded with a run of their own however, making a 7-2 scoring run that allowed them to stay in the game with Evansville, but their momentum wasn’t enough to outlast the Purple Aces.

Tam led Evansville’s offensive efforts, putting down seven kills in the second set, while Vazquez recorded 

For the Salukis, junior opposite hitter Hannah Becker led SIU’s offense with five kills. 

The Purple Aces jumped out to a 16-5 over the Salukis in the third set, Tam putting down four kills early into the set for Evansville.

SIU responded with an 8-1 scoring run of their own, however, with Becker putting down five kills in the sequence to bring the Salukis back in the game, but their efforts weren’t enough to put them past the Purple Aces to take the match. 

The Salukis will look for their third conference win tomorrow night, as they face the Indiana State University Sycamores (3-13) at home. First serve is set for 5:00 p.m. at Davies Gym. 

Sports reporter Brooke Buerck can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @bbuerck25.

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