Hranka Leads Redbirds to Win Over Florida Gulf Coast
Sept. 7, 2012
TOLEDO, Ohio. -The Redbirds (4-4) captured their first win of the Rocket Classic 25-22, 25-12, 26-24 against Florida Gulf Coast (4-4) Friday night at Savage Arena. LeighAnn Hranka led the team with 11 kills and a career-high .588 hitting percentage.
"I love the fight that our team had in the third set," head coach Melissa Myers said. "Even though we didn't start the third set well, we made the changes to take the right steps throughout the game, which is something we've been talking about."
Florida Gulf Coast was off to a strong start in the first set taking a 3-0 lead, but Illinois State was able to tie the set at 4-4. Both teams continued to exchange points throughout the middle of the set, until the Redbirds took flight and compiled a five-point run, initiated with a solid block from Emily Schneider and Brooklyn Hlafka. With the help of six errors by the Eagles, Illinois State was able to extend its lead to 17-13. FGCU made a late three-point run, but Illinois State closed the set 25-22 with a kill by Hranka.
The Redbirds started the second set 2-0 with kill from Hlafka and a service ace from Kaitlyn Early. ISU maintained control through the set and compiled a six-point lead with kills from Stacey Niao, Schneider and Ashley Rosch. The Redbirds kept pressure on the Eagles the entire set and a kill by Early put ISU up 21-12. Back-to-back aces from Menendez and a kill from Hranka gave the Redbirds a 25-12 second set victory.
Illinois State tallied a two-point lead out of the break, but Florida Gulf Coast quickly took over and compiled a four-point run and an 11-7 lead. The Redbirds continued to battle and were able to get within three-points with the help of two Eagle attack errors (18-16). Illinois State continued to press and tied the set at 24-24, forcing extra points and a FGCU timeout. ISU took advantage of two-consecutive Florida Gulf Coast errors and captured the set 26-24.
Illinois State will take the court again tomorrow at 10 a.m. (CT) to face host, Toledo and will close tournament play against Memphis at 4 p.m. (CT).
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