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October 04, 2007

Eagles open four-match homestand Friday

EVANSVILLE, Ind.—The University of Southern Indiana volleyball team opens its longest homestand of the season when it hosts Lewis University Friday at 7 p.m. The match is the first of four straight in the friendly confines of the Physical Activities Center for the Screaming Eagles.

USI (9-8, 4-5 GLVC), which also hosts the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Saturday at 3 p.m., is coming off a frustrating road trip in which it went 1-2. The Eagles lost straight-set matches to the University of Indianapolis and Northern Kentucky University—both teams are ranked in the AVCA Top 25 Poll—while posting a 3-1 victory at Saint Joseph's College.

With five weeks and 11 matches remaining on their regular-season slate, the Eagles need to build momentum to qualify for the GLVC Tournament and get into the hunt for a spot in the NCAA II Great Lakes Region Tournament.

As of Thursday, the Eagles are a half-game out of third place in the West Division and are tied with Bellarmine University for the top wild card spot. USI hosts Bellarmine on October 13.

USI, however, still has matches left with the top three teams in the West Division. The Eagles host the University of Missouri-St. Louis to close out the season, and have return engagements with division-leading Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Rockhurst University. Both UMSL and Rockhurst still have to play GLVC East Division powers Northern Kentucky and Indianapolis.

First and foremost, though, is a tough Lewis team that has been on fire all season. The Flyers (15-2, 7-1 GLVC), last season's GLVC Tournament champions, have won six straight matches and boast the league's second-ranked attack and third-ranked defense.

UW-Parkside (8-6, 2-6 GLVC), which visits SIU Edwardsville Friday night, has lost two straight matches after starting the season with a 6-0 record. The Rangers are a much-improved squad from last year's team, which was 8-17 overall and 3-13 in the GLVC.

The Eagles also host an improving Kentucky Wesleyan College squad October 12 before finishing the homestand with Bellarmine.

Dan McDonnell,
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