By: Steve Maves
The SIU Volleyball team has been without its lone senior Taylor Pippen for the last six matches due to an injury. Tonight was her first game back and she showed why she was named to the Preseason All-MVC Team. Pippen helped the Salukis pull off a 3-1 win over the Bradley Braves on Friday night at Davies Gym.
In the first set it looked like SIU forgot how to play team volleyball. They were not communicating with each other and letting some easy points get by them. Early in the set the Braves jumped out to an early 7-2 lead, which made coach Justin Ingram call a timeout. The problem for the Salukis in the set was as soon as they would stop a Braves rally the team would either make a mistake or let the Braves set up their offense and score easily off of the Saluki serve. The Salukis looked very flat throughout the whole first set and eventually lost the set 19-25.
The second set was much stronger for the Salukis as they jumped out to a quick 8-3 lead before Bradley head coach Jenney Maurer called her first timeout. The timeout only seemed to help the Salukis in this set as they were able to keep most of the momentum. When Maurer called the teams’ second timeout SIU was leading 17-11. After the second timeout Bradley made a little bit of a run to cut into the lead, but SIU eventually pulled away and won the second set 25-18.
In set the third, set coming out of the break SIU and Bradley were neck and neck throughout and didn’t want to give an inch and neither team did. As soon as one team scored the other team would rattle off four or five points and back and forth that went. That was until Pippen started to get into her groove and getting back into the swing of things, literally. By the end of the third set Pippen recorded 8 kills, adding to her total that was now at 10, her play got the crowd going. As soon as Pippen got going the rest of the team responded and closed out the set in dominating fashion 25-16.
The fourth set was again dominated again by Pippen and the Salukis that was until they had to get the last point. Bradley wasn’t going away without a fight and with SIU leading 23-19 the Braves put together a quick three-point burst that put them within one of the Salukis. With set and match point for the Salukis the blocking of the SIU defense came through huge and forced an attack error on Bradley. SIU won set 4 25-23 and the match 3-1 to improve to 11-5 overall and 2-1 in conference play, which includes wins in their last 7 of 9 matches.
SIU (11-5 Overall, 2-1 MVC)
Next Game Saturday October 3 vs. Loyola
Taylor Pippen: 14 Kills on 21 Attempts, scored 18.5 points.
Meg Viggars: 23 Assists, 8 Kills, 8 Assisted Blocks, scored 13.0 points
Andrea Estrada: 11 Kills, 14 Digs
Hannah Kaminsky: 20 Assists, 5 Digs
Nellie Fredriksson: 7 Kills
Abby Barrow: 11 Kills
Bradley (5-10 Overall, 0-3 MVC)
Next Game: Saturday October 3 @ Evansville
Jessica Teel: 19 Assists, 12 Digs, 2 Kills
Erica Haslag: 13 Kills
Allison Turner: 11 Kills
Lea Sack: 15 Digs, 4 Assists
Jamie Livaudais: 9 Kills
Afton Sobasky: 18 Assists, 3 Digs