Redbirds Stay Perfect Versus Evansville
Oct. 1, 2005
Evansville, Ind. - Laura Doornbos had 18 kills and Kari Staehlin added 11 as Illinois State downed Evansville 34-32, 30-20, 30-27in a Missouri Valley Conference volleyball match Saturday at Carson Center.
The Redbirds, 8-6, 4-2 in the Valley, have won all 23 matches in the series with Evansville, which falls to 6-12, 1-4 in the Valley. Again the Redbird defense was on the job. Following a three-game record 84 digs the previous night at SIU, the Redbirds had 62 in three games at Evansville led by Savannah Knowles' 15.
"Our defense is really giving us what we need right now," said Dingman. "Savannah, in particular, came up with some huge digs tonight. But, in game one, we were out of substitutions and Laura had to play in the back row and she came up with a huge dig when we really needed it to stay alive."
Illinois State dodged four potentially lethal bullets in game one. A 5-0 Redbird run paced by three Kari Staehlin kills, earned ISU a 27-24 lead, but Evansville answered with its own 5-0 run to reach game point for the first time at 29-27. Doornbos smashed the block and Emily Kabbes went cross-court to knot the score at 29-29.
Three more times, UE served for the game point, but Doornbos, Mary Catherine Richmond and Knowles each collected a kill to get ISU back even. Staehlin's only block of the game put ISU ahead 33-32 and a UE hitting error earned ISU the game.
Game two featured a stoppage of play with ISU leading 5-3. Ashley Grubb chased an errant pass toward the bleachers and the officials ruled that some UE student fans standing in front of the bleachers interfered with her an opportunity to make the play, so a replay was ordered. Evansville came back after that play to take a 7-6 lead, but Richmond went to the service line after an Evansville hitting error and served six more points and ISU went ahead 13-7. During a dominating stretch of play, ISU out-scored Evansville 22-10 before finishing game two.
Dingman thought it was an unfortunate play, but felt the officials made the right decision on Grubb's attempt.
"The bottom line is that the fans were on the playing surface and one of them took a swing at the ball as Grubb was trying to play," said Dingman, who earned her 99th career win at Illinois State. "It was unfortunate, but the officials made the right decision."
After the play, the fans stepped into the bleachers for the rest of the match, but were even more vocal than before.
"They were getting on a couple of our players pretty good and I think our team responded on the court the way we wanted them to," said Dingman. "I think the crowd helped us."
The Redbirds led by as many as eight in game three before the Aces battled back to within 28-27, but a pair of UE hitting errors around the ISU block gave the `Birds the points they needed to finish the match.
Illinois State comes home for four in a row starting Friday against Northern Iowa, followed by Bradley (Oct. 9), Indiana State (Oct. 15) and Notre Dame (Oct. 17), the No. 10 team in the nation.