Redbirds Fall to Oral Roberts In Final Redbird Classic Match, 3-1
Tabitha Visk
Tabitha Visk

Aug. 29, 2009

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NORMAL, Ill. - Despite winning the first set, Illinois State (2-1) could not hold of Oral Roberts (3-0) and lost its first match of 2009, 3-1 (25-18, 22-25, 17-25, 25-27). The Redbirds staged comebacks in the third and fourth sets, but couldn't overcome errors at key points in the match.

Junior Mallory Leggett led the Redbrid attack with 12 kills, but had eight attack errors and four service errors. Sophomore Tabitha Visk had 10 kills, her third-straight game with double-figures, a career-high 20 digs and two aces. Both players were named to the Redbird Classic All-Tournament team after averaging double-digit kills over the three matches.

Senior Jessica Pratapas was back in the starting lineup at setter and had 28 set-assists. Freshman Jenny Menendez had a career-high 10 digs and two aces.

After a sideout, Illinois State ripped off five-straight points, highlighted be a pair of service aces from sophomore Laura Wakefield, to take a 7-1 lead in the first set. Three-straight Oral Roberts attack errors later in the set gave the Redbirds a 15-7 advantage. The Redbirds continued to cruise towards the win, never letting Oral Roberts closer than seven points. Both teams had nine kills in the first set, but Oral Roberts committed nine attack errors.

ISU jumped ahead early in the second set as well, taking a 12-8 lead, but a string of errors gave Oral Roberts its first lead of the match, 16-13. The Redbirds committed seven errors during the 8-1 Golden Eagle run. Still trailing by three, the Redbirds found their form again and tied the score at 20, but Oral Roberts claimed the set with a 5-2 run and tied the match. Despite the Golden Eagles' negative hitting percentage in the second set, the streak of errors proved costly for the Redbirds.

Oral Roberts started the third set with four-straight kills and the first six points. The lead grew to double-digits, 13-3, as the Golden Eagles had seven kills and no errors in their first 19 attack attempts. Down by 11, the Redbirds went on an 8-1 run of their own to pull within four points, 18-14. Their momentum went no further, as the Golden Eagles held on for the set win, 25-17.

Pratapas and junior Hailey Kelley combined on two blocks and Menendez had her two aces to fuel six-straight Redbird points that built a 9-5 lead in the fourth set. Oral Roberts kept the set close and eventually tied the score at 15. The two teams traded points every serve, but the Redbirds maintained the advantage. Oral Roberts put together a 5-1 run to regain the lead, 23-20, but three-straight Redbird points tied the score again. The Redbirds staved off three-straight match points by Oral Roberts, but weren't able to make the decisive turn for the lead.

Illinois State hits the road for the first time this season Tuesday when its visits Loyola-Chicago at 7 p.m.