Story by Austin Cannon
Drake volleyball’s losing streak extended to 14 games with a loss to the Southern Illinois Salukis Saturday night at the Knapp Center.
The three-set loss dropped the Bulldogs to a dismal 2-23 on the season, including a winless record in the Missouri Valley (0-13).
“It was frustrating and tough. On paper, we had a lot of kids that had really great games for themselves tonight,” said Drake head coach Darrin McBroom. “And yet, the intensity we brought to the game tonight was really off and it threw a lot of little things off.”
In the first set, SIU raced out to a 10-4 lead. A kill by freshman middle blocker Tegan LeBarge cut the deficit to 10-14, but the Salukis answered with an 11-2 run to win the set 25-12.
In the beginning, the second set looked promising.
Back-to-back kills from redshirt freshman Katie Allen and sophomore Scarlett Howerter made the score 5-1.
Both teams scored three points to up the score to 8-4, Drake.
The next seven points, however, would all belong to the Salukis.
SIU scored four straight points, three off Bulldogs errors, to tie the score at eight and force a Drake timeout.
After the timeout, the Salukis scored three more to tip the set in their favor, 11-8.
Scoring went back and forth after that, but SIU never relinquished the lead. The Salukis won the set 25-19.
Early scoring went back and forth in the third set. With the score tied at 10-10, SIU went on a 8-2 run to take a 18-12.
Drake battled back, and an attack error from SIU brought them within one, 17-18.
However, the Salukis scored the next six points, and a late Drake rally only stalled the inevitable. SIU took the final set 25-21.
Howerter led the Bulldogs with eight kills. Sophomore Rebecca Brown contributed 30 assists, and senior libero Sarah Madden had 14 digs, giving her 1,467 in her Drake career, which is good for second all-time.
This match saw a reshuffled lineup. Freshmen Makena Schoene, Michelle Thommi and Meredith Moore each saw increased playing time, along with Howerter and junior Halli Mayer.
“We just had a lot of competition this week in practice to who would earn the staring positions tonight,” McBroom said.
Fourteen straight games is a long time, a fact not lost on Howerter.
“We need to win. We’ve just kind of gotten used to losing, and we just need to go out there and win,” Howerter said.