Oct. 5, 2013
SPRINGFIELD -- On a night when neither Missouri State nor Southern Illinois won a set by more than four points, it was fitting for the fifth set to go extra time as the Salukis (8-10, 3-3 Missouri Valley Conference) escaped Hammons Student Center with a 3-2 (21-25, 25-23, 25-22, 24-26, 17-15) win over the Bears (10-7, 2-3) Saturday in Springfield.
Down two sets to one and facing match point at 24-22 in the fourth period, Missouri State went on a critical 4-0 run to extend the contest. Olivia Brand’s kill was followed by Amber Doolittle and Kayln Vlasin blocking the Salukis for a 24-all tie, and Brand added a solo block before Vlasin’s kill accounted for the 26-24 victory.
Vlasin continued the momentum with a personal 4-0 run in the form of three kills and a block to give the Bears a 7-3 lead in the fifth set, but SIU countered with a pair of 3-0 runs to lead 9-8. Brand’s 17th and 18th kills of the match forced ties at 11 and 12, and a Saluki attack error made it 13-12 MSU. The Bears had match point at 14-13 when a Southern Illinois serve sailed long, and Doolittle’s kill fended off SIU’s first chance at victory for a 15-all tie when the Salukis hit back-to-back kills for the victory.
The Missouri State defense was the story in the first set with 28 digs in the 25-21 win, and the offense piled up a combined 39 kills in the second and third frames but committed 12 errors compared to five for SIU as the visitors capitalized on those mistakes to win the two periods by just five total points.
Despite the loss, the superlatives were many for the Bears in the match. Ashley Mason established a career high with 30 digs and became the first Bear with 30 digs in a match since 2009. Carly Thomas had 65 assists and 21 digs, handing out the most assists by a Bear since 2005. She now has four career matches of 50 assists and 20 digs to her credit, while just 16 have been recorded in MSU history.
Missouri State’s 76 kills and 111 digs were each the most by an MSU club since 2008. The Bears also hit .222 compared to .194 for SIU and held a 12-11 lead in blocking.
Brand’s 18 kills were the most by a Bear this season and she was joined in double figures by Kaitlin Jaeger, Karen Rivatto and Kayla Walton with 11 apiece.
Missouri State returns to action Oct. 11 with a 6 p.m. match at Indiana State.