Sycamores shut down Saluki volleyball

By Brooke Buerck, Sports Reporter

The Southern Illinois women’s volleyball team dropped a five-set match to the Indiana State Sycamores on Saturday (25-20, 18-25; 25-17, 17-25, 8-15). 

The loss marked the Salukis’ fifth in a row. 

Southern (10-12; 2-5 MVC) faced the Sycamores tonight following a 3-0 loss to the University of Evansville Purple Aces on Friday.

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Indiana State (4-14; 2-6 MVC) fell to the Missouri State University Bears on Friday night, dropping a five-set match at Springfield, Mo. 

Junior middle blocker Lindsey Paulsen had a career-best 15 kills for the night to lead the Salukis on offense, hitting at a .429 percentage. Paulsen also recorded four blocks. 

For the Sycamores, senior middle blocker Cassie Kawa led with 15 kills, while junior outside hitter Nikkie White tallied 13 and freshman outside hitter Taylor Shelton chipped in 11. 

The Salukis took an early 10-5 lead in the first set over the Sycamores; junior opposite hitter Hannah Becker put down three kills and senior middle blocker Emma Baalman and junior setter Rachel Maguire put up a block to help Southern edge ahead.

Indiana State found themselves down by 11 points in the set, but responded with a 7-2 scoring run late in the match to help try and bring them back in the game. 

The Sycamores continued to find momentum deep into the set, trailing only by two while down 21-19, but couldn’t find a way past their large point deficit for the win.

Kawa led the Sycamores with 7 kills during the first set, while for the Salukis, Becker and junior middle blocker Lindsey Paulsen had four each.

Indiana State and Southern Illinois battled back-and-forth in the second set, but with a five-point scoring run, the Sycamores took the slight 18-14 advantage deep into the set. 

ISU forced the Salukis to struggle on serve receive, recording four aces in the set, with senior defensive specialist Jade York and sophomore middle blocker Madeline Williams serving two each.

SIU recorded three blocks during the set; Maguire and Baalman had two assists each while Paulsen and senior setter Alayna Martin each recorded one.

The Salukis took control of the third set, extending to a 16-8 lead over the Sycamores that would help them secure the win.

Indiana State was able to make a 5-2 scoring run, with three kills coming from Shelton, sophomore defensive specialist Melina Tedrow, and Williams, but the Salukis wouldn’t allow the Sycamores an opportunity to grab the momentum.

In the set, Southern Illinois hit at a .250 percentage, with Becker putting down five kills and Paulsen adding four.

The Salukis and the Sycamores opened up the fourth set with an early 9-9 tie, but even after two timeout calls by Allen, SIU found themselves down 18-12.

Southern struggled through multiple errors, while Sycamore junior outside hitter Nikki White put down five kills in the set to help Indiana State secure the win.

ISU found themselves up 8-2 over the Salukis in the beginning of fifth set. 

The Salukis worked to battle their way back into the game, with Baalman recording a solo block and a block assist along with junior outside hitter Savannah Sheridan. 

Their efforts weren’t enough to overpower the Sycamores, however. 

Becker finished the match with 13 kills, while Sheridan added 10. 

Maguire and Martin both double-doubled with digs and assists, Martin adding 24 assists and 11 digs while Maguire contributed 24 assists and 20 digs.

The Salukis take the court again on Monday, Oct. 21 against the Missouri State University Bears (5-16). First serve is set for 6 p.m. at Davies Gym. 

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

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