CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Drake volleyball team dropped a close match to Southern Illinois, 3-1, Saturday afternoon in Carbondale, Ill. Game scores were 25-20, 22-25, 25-23 and 25-12. SIU improves to 13-3 overall and 4-2 in the Missouri Valley Conference. The loss drops Drake's record to 1-14 overall and 0-5 in the MVC.
"We had our moments today and it came down to we didn't execute our passing when we needed to," head coach Tony Sunga said. "We held leads late in the first and third and we have to learn to push back when the home teams fight back on us. We were close but we have to execute better."
Three Bulldogs posted double figure kills led by senior Bentley Mancini (Burnsville, Minn.) who had 15. Amanda Platte (Mount Vernon, Iowa) and Jadranka Tramosljanin (Ruma, Serbia) each had 10 kills. Tramosljanin added 12 digs for her fifth double-double of the season and she also had two service aces. Halli Meyer (Bettendorf, Iowa) dished out 26 assists and had seven digs.
It was back-and-forth early in set number one as both teams traded points until the Bulldogs pulled ahead 11-7 after a kill by Shelby Daum (Battle Creek, Neb.). SIU was forced to take a timeout. After the timeout the Salukis came back to tie the set at 14-14, which forced Drake to take a timeout. SIU took the set with an 11-4 run, 25-20.
Set two was a back-and-forth affair as well as each team held leads. SIU staked an early 6-4 lead after a kill by Alysia Mays but Drake came back and took a 17-15 lead after a kill by Cassie Effken (Lincoln, Neb.). The Salukis tied the set at 17-17 and forced the Bulldogs to take a timeout. Out of the break the Salukis built a 22-19 lead after a block but the Bulldogs ripped off six straight points to even the match, 25-22.
Drake fell behind in the third set, 6-1, as Mays tallied three kills for the Salukis. The Bulldogs trailed 19-13 after a kill by Laura Thole but they battled back and tied the set at 19-19 after a kill by Mancini. A service ace by Sarah Madden (Van Meter, Iowa), a kill by Effken and another kill by Mancini helped Drake take a 22-19. Drake couldn't hold off SIU who came back to win the set, 25-23.
SIU took control early in the fourth and final set and went on to win 25-12 and take the match. The Salukis posted 15 kills with just three attack errors and hit .560 in the set. Mancini smashed four kills to lead the Drake attack.
Madden had 20 digs with a five digs a set average and two service aces. Effken continues to play well as she finished with seven kills and three block assists. Daum tallied four kills with no errors off the bench for the Bulldogs.
"Sarah was excellent once again today for us with her digs and Cassie continues to perform well for us in the middle," Sunga said. "I was very happy with the energy Shelby brought off the bench today and she had some great swings."
Drake will return to action this Friday, Oct.5 when they host the Bradley Braves at the Knapp Center. UNI will travel to Des Moines the next night. Both matches will start at 7 p.m.