Sept. 21, 2012
SPRINGFIELD-- On the strength of 16 kills and .519 hitting from Kaitlin Jaeger and a triple-double from Carly Thomas, the Missouri State volleyball team ended Southern Illinois' 11-match winning streak with a 25-22, 24-26, 27-25, 25-22 victory Friday in an early-season Missouri Valley Conference showdown at Hammons Student Center in Springfield.
The Bears (7-7, 2-1 MVC) closed out a tight first set by winning the last three points on kills by Jaeger, Thomas and Christine McCartney, and held a 23-20 lead in the second before the Salukis (11-2, 2-1) closed on a 6-1 run to win 26-24.
A marathon third set ended on a Jaeger kill for 27-25, but not after MSU piled up 21 kills and 36 digs in the period. Jaeger accounted for five consecutive MSU points on four kills and a block for a 19-16 lead, and the Bears led 21-18 before nearly letting the set slip away like the second, even facing a set point at 24-23 that was spoiled by an Amber Doolittle kill. McCartney hammered a kill from 25-25 before Jaeger finished it off.
Missouri State got off to a fast start in the fourth, leading 5-2 when Carly Thomas landed her 10th kill for her third career triple-double. The Salukis answered and steamrolled to a 14-8 lead before the Bears began to chip away. With SIU ahead 19-15, Andrea Beaty hit consecutive kills and joined Doolittle on a block for 19-18, and Doolittle followed with another block and a kill for a 20-20 score. Thomas hit her career-best 12th kill for a 21-20 lead and SIU tied at 22 before Jaeger closed the match with consecutive kills.
Doolittle had 15 kills and a career-high seven blocks for the Bears, while Thomas had 53 assists and 15 digs. Ashley Mason finished with a season-best 27 digs, Shelby Strang had 18 and McCartney added 14 along with 11 kills for the double-double.
The Bears hit .183 with 70 kills. The MSU defense finished with 88 digs and 13 blocks to hold the league's top hitting team to just a .156 efficiency compared to SIU's .272 average. The Bears also stymied the MVC's top individual hitter, Alysia Mayes, holding her to 10 kills on .083 hitting compared to her .461 average.
The Bears close the weekend Saturday at 6 p.m. against Evansville (5-10, 1-2). The Purple Aces lost 3-0 at Wichita State Friday.