DES MOINES, Iowa - The Southern Illinois volleyball team defeated the Drake Bulldogs, 3-1, Friday night at the Knapp Center. Game scores were 25-16, 27-25, 23-25 and 25-19.
Cassie Effken (Lincoln, Neb.) recorded a career-high 15 kills and added two blocks and two digs for Drake (3-19, 2-9 MVC). Jadranka Tramosljanin (Ruma, Serbia) had 12 kills and 21 digs to record her team-leading tenth double-double of the year. Sarah Madden (Van Meter, Iowa), who early in the week was named MVC Defensive Player of the Week, tallied a match-high 35 digs.
It was a back-and-forth opening set as the two teams traded early leads until Southern Illinois (18-5, 8-4 MVC) took a 20-15 lead after a kill by Jessica Whitefield to force a Bulldog timeout. SIU closed the set scoring five of the final six points to win, 25-16. Whitehead led the SIU attack with five kills and three others had three kills. Amanda Platte (Mount Vernon, Iowa) paced the Drake attack with four kills.
The two teams stayed close early in the second set with neither team able to build a lead larger than two points. Three consecutive attack errors by SIU gave the Bulldogs a 20-19 lead and forced SIU to take a timeout. Out of the break, SIU rallied to go in front, 21-20, and force Drake to take a timeout. Back-to-back points put the Bulldogs back ahead, 22-21. A service error and a block gave SIU a 23-22 lead and forced Drake to call its final timeout. Kills by Effken and Platte helped Drake take a 24-23 lead and forced SIU to take its final timeout. A kill by Whitehead and a kill by Effken made the score 25-24 before SIU recorded three straight points to take the set, 27-25.
Tramosljanin, the top server in the conference, started the third set with her 33rd ace of the season. Later, a kill by Tramosljanin put the Bulldogs ahead, 8-6, before SIU responded with a 5-0 run and forced Drake to call a timeout down, 11-8. The Bulldogs staged their own rally after the timeout to even the score at 12-12 and forced SIU to take a timeout. Drake went ahead, 21-19, after a kill by Tramosljanin and an SIU attack error and the Salukis called their final timeout of the set. The Bulldogs held off a late charge by the Salukis to win, 25-23, and force a fourth set.
SIU took an 11-7 lead after a kill by Laura Thole in the fourth set. A block by Effken cut SIU's lead to 17-16 but the Bulldogs' rally fell short as the Salukis closed out the match, 25-19.
Whitehead led SIU with a match-high 20 kills and added three digs. Thole finished a double-double with 16 kills and 14 digs. The Salukis finished with 21 blocks to just five blocks for the Bulldogs.
Evansville (8-17, 3-9 MVC) travels to the Knapp Center tomorrow night. First serve is set for 7:00 p.m.