After falling behind two sets to one to Southeast Missouri State Tuesday night at Saluki Arena, it looked like it was written in the stars the Salukis would lose another match.
However, after a pep talk by Head Coach Kari Thompson, a brilliant fourth set performance by her team took them on a high into the fifth and deciding overtime set.
“In the third set (a 25-21 SIU loss) we had people (going off script) as far as following the game plan,” Thompson said. “They were doing things we had not practiced. But thankfully I got them back to the game plan.”
SIU tied the game up two sets to two with a 25-17 win over the Redhawks. That gave the Dawgs a ray of hope. But it was still turned out to be a nail-biter in the overtime period.
The Dawgs fell behind 5-1 in that set, but its win was not to be denied. Finally tying the set 7-7, the Salukis went on to outscore the Hawks 8-6 to get their first win of the season (1-4 record).
“It’s nice to get a win so that the team can see all their hard work in practice pay off,” Thompson said. “It’s been a tough pre-conference.”
After playing four of its first five non-conference games against rated teams — there are more tough opponents ahead.
This weekend the Dawgs are at the Notre Dame Shamrock Invitational.
On Saturday, at 12:30 p.m., SIU plays Notre Dame and then they finish the day against Michigan State.
“It felt like we had just won a championship,” Abby Barrows said after the game. “That’s how it felt to us to win this match. Things haven’t gone our way, but we know we have a good team.”
Barrows led the charge for the Dawgs with 16 kills, 11 digs and a career high (for a game) four serving aces. Her eighth kill of the game was her 900th of her career.
One thousand Kills is a benchmark for a volleyball player and Barrows ought to have a chance to achieve that goal this season.
However, in this match, Barrow did get some help from four of her teammates. Maggie Nedoma had 13 Kills in 32 attempts, Koby Meeks hit a game high .625 (10/16 Kills) and Rachael Maguire finished with 29 assists and 10 digs.
“After the first set (a 25-20 loss). We had to settle down,” said Thompson. “I thought we played a lot better defensively from then on.”