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September 26, 2005

Eagles start crucial stretch

EVANSVILLE, Ind.The University of Southern Indiana volleyball team has won three straight matches and four of its last five but the most crucial three-match stretch of the 2005 campaign may be this week when the Screaming Eagles take on Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, No. 20 Rockhurst University, and Drury University.

USI (10-7, 2-1 GLVC) starts the stretch Tuesday at 7 p.m. when the Eagles travel to Edwardsville, Illinois, to take on a SIUE Cougar squad that was picked by the league coaches to win the GLVC this season. The Eagles defeated the Cougars three times, including the GLVC Championship match, last season.

SIUE (11-5, 1-2 GLVC) has won two straight matches after starting GLVC play with a pair of losses.

Following the SIUE match, the Eagles return home Friday at 7 p.m. to host a Rockhurst squad that handed the Eagles a 3-0 setback less than two weeks ago. The Eagles, who are 2-4 against nationally ranked teams this season, will be looking to return the favor and extend their home winning streak 20. The Hawks (13-2, 4-0 GLVC) are making their first road trip in the GLVC and are looking to remain undefeated in the Great Lakes Region.

USI finishes its weekend slate Saturday at 2 p.m. with a red-hot Drury squad. The Panthers (6-9, 3-1 GLVC), who lost their conference-opener to the Eagles, have won three straight matches, including wins over SIUE and Northern Kentucky University.

For the Eagles to be successful this week, they must continue to limit their attacking errors. The Eagles have averaged just 4.7 attacking errors per game since committing 24 attacking errors in their 3-0 loss to Rockhurst.

Production also has increased from all players on the USI roster during the Eagles' current winning streak, particularly from senior middle blocker Laura Ellerbusch (Newburgh, Indiana). Ellerbusch averaged 4.00 kills per game and a .506 attacking percentage last week.

She needs just 23 kills to reach 1,000 in her career, while junior libero Mandy Probst (Wheeler, Illinois) needs just 71 digs to eclipse 1,000 in her career.

Dan McDonnell,
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