By David F.P.
STORRS, CT- In the early match of day 2 of the UConn Toyota Classic, SIU took on Hartford. Southern Illinois pulled out to a 25-15.
As always with recaps I tend to focus on the offensive, as it is hard enough to follow the fast paced action, but this is not to in any way downgrade the importance of key sets and key defensive plays. I do note defensive saves whenever I have time to write them down.
The Saluki’s pulled out to a big lead and held it in set 2 as well, picking up the 25-13 victory to give them a 2 sets to zero lead. Highlights for SIU included a block from Sydney Clark and Alysia Mayes, followed by a big time kill from Alicia Johnson. Clark found a gap to hammer the ball into. Jennifer Berwanger knocked a kill off the defenders and out of bounds. During a long serving streak, Johnson also picked up an ace just in bounds and Jasmine Conner and Rachael Brown teamed up on the block. Berwanger added a big kill soon afterward, and later on added a service ace. It would be long before they were wrapping up the set with another Berwanger rocket.
For Hartford, Kami Nethersole started off the scoring with a kill off the blockers, and tapped the ball off the block later and many of Hartford points came due to SIU errors.
In set 3, SIU rolled to a 25-12 victory including, a big smash from Johnson off the defense and out of play, and later she added another kill. Berwanger picked up a block midway thought, and Conner had a smash from the net, followed by another Berwanger kill. Johnson came up with a kill later, and Berwanger added a service ace to aid in the scoring. Laura Thole sliced a ball through the defense with a kill, and later teamed with Jessica Whitehead on a block. Bailey Yeager also served up an ace during her time serving which would go until the set and match was won. Thole added another kill, Whitehead a block, and another Yeager ace put them within 1 before the final point.
For Hartford, Nethersole scored another point, during one of the rallies, libero Danielle Etta had a key defensive save which eventually lead to a Hartford point. The Hawks benefited from some Saluki errors as well, and Nethersole sent another attack through the block as well as part of their scoring.
SIU had won each match and every set so far in the tournament, and Hartford had yet to pick up a set win at that point.