The Salukis won both conference matchups this weekend after losing two on the road last weekend.
SIU is now 13-3 overall and 4-2 in Missouri Valley Conference play, ranking the team in third place. The team has won all eight home games, the first time since 1994.
In a packed Davies Gymnasium, SIU beat top-ranked Creighton (12-3, 3-1) in four sets Friday for the first time in 10 years.
“We are trying to instill a certain kind of fight, certain sense of urgency that it has got to happen now. You are never going to just quit,” said SIU coach Justin Ingram. “We put lots and lots of energy as a coaching staff into addressing that and trying to teach that to the players. And they fought tonight.”
Senior middle blocker Alysia Mayes had seven of her 16 kills in the first set.
Ingram said Mayes worked different zones of the court instead of focusing on one.
After a 25-21 win in the first set, the Bluejays came back at SIU in the second, winning their only set of the night 25-16. Creighton improved hitting in the second set drastically with a .600 hit percentage compared to the .108 in the first set.
“They were red hot offensively and we did nothing to stop them,” Ingram said.
Part of the Salukis’ strategy going into the game was to put pressure on Creighton in the back corner.
“The whole night we put it on them serving,” Ingram said. “When we were losing, we let up on it and we let up on the zones we were supposed to hit.”
One target in the back corner was senior setter Megan Bober who tends to dump the ball. The Salukis held her to a -.054 hit percentage and she also had six errors.
“Bober didn’t have an impact on the match at all,” Ingram said.
SIU jumped out to a 10-5 lead in the third set before Creighton started to bounce back and eventually the teams were tied at 18. Five errors from Creighton sealed the win for SIU 25-22.
The teams exchanged three- and four-point runs in the beginning of the fourth set before Creighton went on a run to put them ahead 16-18.
“It felt like we settled. It was a few just unfortunate plays in a row and all of a sudden it was a four-point swing for Creighton,” Ingram said.
The set was then tied eight times before a kill from junior Jessica Whitehead set up the Salukis for match point.
Sophomore Amy Drabant set up senior Laura Thole on the left side who threw down the final point with a 28-26 win.
The Salukis came back Saturday with a four-set win against Drake (1-14, 0-5).
Thole and Mayes led the team with 18 kills each.
Freshman defensive specialist Mary Bogdanski served six points in the first set of the match, which SIU went on to win 25-20.
Drake came back in the second set with an early four-point run and then finished the set 22-25. The last three points of the set were from SIU errors.
Their were three ties and three lead changes in the Salukis’ third set win 25-23.
SIU kept the lead the entire fourth set putting away an early win 25-12.
SIU will travel to Murray State for a non-conference match at 7 p.m. Tuesday.