Redbirds Sweep In-State Rival Bradley
PEORIA, Ill. - The Illinois State volleyball team (12-8, 6-4 MVC) defeated I-74 rival, Bradley (7-14, 1-9 MVC) 25-11, 25-25, 25-20 Friday night.ISU was led by Ashley Rosch and Stacey Niao who both post double-doubles (kills/digs) and combined for 21 of Illinois State's 40 kills.
ISU recorded a .205 team hitting percentage compared to the Braves .034 and BU committed17 additional errors than the Redbirds. Jenny Menendez controlled the pace of the defense, tallying a match-high 24 digs-the fourth time she's recorded 20-plus digs this season and Sierra Burris posted a career-high 19 digs. Kaitlyn Early recorded 29 assists and five kills for a .500 hitting percentage.
The Redbirds cruised through the start of the set, jumping out to a 7-0 lead off of seven-straight Bradley errors. The Braves marked their first point on the board with a kill from Courtney Keefe, but ISU earned the next five points with kills from LeighAnn Hranka and Niao and forced BU to call its second timeout before the halfway point of the set. Illinois State controlled the rest of the set and prevailed 25-11.
Both teams exchanged points at the beginning of the second set until Bradley took its first lead of the match with a kill from Alise Tupuriti, 4-3. The Redbirds were able to compile a five-point run with kills from Brooklyn Hlafka, Niao, Emily Schneider and Early to put the team ahead 9-6. Bradley continued to battle and regained the advantage late in the set 20-19. Illinois State trailed by two points, before earning the next five with the help of two BU errors and back-to-back kills from Hranka and Rosch to end the set 25-23.
After the break, the Redbirds took flight quickly with a 5-0 lead, causing Bradley to use its first timeout. Bradley recorded three-straight points after the timeout and was able to get within one point at the middle of the set, 14-13. The Braves took the lead with two kills from Tupuriti and a BU block, 19-17. Illinois State continued to press back and posted a string of four-points to regain the lead, 21-19. The match ended with two-consecutive blocks from Hranka and Early and a service ace from Menendez, 25-20.
Illinois State will travel to Northern Iowa to match-up with the Panthers tomorrow at 7 p.m.
Redbird volleyball games can be heard live on GoRedbirds.com and WJBC.com.
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