Redbirds Handle Bulldogs in Straight-Sets
Oct. 13, 2012
NORMAL, Ill. – The Illinois State volleyball team (11-8, 5-4 MVC) moved back above .500 in Missouri Valley Conference play with a straight-set win (25-18, 25-18, 25-20) over the Drake Bulldogs (3-16, 2-7 MVC) Saturday evening at Redbird Arena. It was the seventh sweep for the Redbirds this season.
Ashley Rosch and LeighAnn Hranka both hit double-digits in three sets, as Rosch led the team with 11 kills and Hranka had 10. Rosch also recorded her eighth double-double of the season (kills/digs), as she also led the team with 13 digs. Kaitlyn Early led all players with 34 assists, tying her three-set season high.
The Redbirds took control of the first set early, jumping out to a 6-2 advantage. ISU extended its lead to 13-6 after a 4-0 run, forcing a Bulldog time out. The Redbirds would claim their largest lead of the set at 24-15, before Drake rattled off three-straight points. However, Ashley Rosch clinched the set for the Redbirds with a cross-court kill, her second of the match. Brooklyn Hlafka and Stacey Niao each registered three kills in the opener, while Emily Schneider and Kaitlyn Early each tallied two block assists.
Illinois State got out to a quick lead in the second set as well, jumping on top of the Bulldogs 8-3. The Redbirds would extend their lead to as much as seven at 16-9, before the Bulldogs battled back to within four, 18-14. From there, however, the Redbirds would build the lead back to seven at 21-14, thanks to a kill and block assist from Rosch. An attack error by the Bulldogs would give the Redbirds the set victory 25-18. Rosch led the Redbirds in the set with five kills and an attack percentage of .500, while LeighAnn Hranka also registered four kills on an .800 attacking percentage.
The Redbirds found themselves behind at the start of the third set, going down 6-4. ISU rebounded to tie the match at 7-7 before going on a 7-2 run to take a 14-9 advantage. The Bulldogs responded with a 5-2 run of their own to make it 16-14, but the Redbirds regained control of the match with a 5-1 run culminating in a kill from Niao to make it 21-15. Hranka recorded a kill on a long rally to bring the Redbirds within one of victory, with Schneider ending the match on a kill of her own two plays later. Rosch and Hranka paced with Redbirds with four sets apiece in the set.
The Redbirds hit the road for two MVC contests next weekend, playing at Bradley Oct. 19 and Northern Iowa Oct. 20. Both matches are set to start at 7 p.m.
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