Volleyball Drops Hard Fought Non-Conference Match, 3-1
Ashley Rosch collected 14 kills

Ashley Rosch collected 14 kills

Oct. 22, 2013

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NORMAL, Ill. - After a strong opening set, the Illinois State volleyball team (15-6, 8-1) fell to the Valparaiso Crusaders (19-4, 6-1) in four sets (25-15, 22-25, 28-30, 22-25) Tuesday evening, officially bringing an end to the Redbird's non-conference schedule. The Redbirds were led by Ashley Rosch, who picked up 14 kills on the night, while Emily Orrick led the ISU defense with 28 digs. Emily Schneider tallied six blocks for the evening and Kaitlyn Early had another solid performance, amassing 45 assists, 12 digs and one kill.

The Redbirds got off to a hot start, picking up the first three points, but a trio of attacks put the Crusaders right back in the match, 3-3. It was back-and-forth play until a pair of aces by Early put the Redbirds up, 8-5. From there, it was all Redbirds in the first set.

An Orrick ace, followed by a Valparaiso error extended the ISU lead to 14-6. Back-to-back Redbird kills gave Illinois State its largest lead of the match, 19-7. A setting error by Valparaiso's Kelsey Berrington would give ISU a set-point, paving the way for Brooklyn Hlafka to blast the set-winning kill.

Three consecutive ISU errors, followed by a Sarah Dooms ace would put the Redbirds down 4-2 to start the second set. Following an exchange of points, a kill from Valparaiso's Kelsey Victor preceding a Redbird error would put the Crusaders up 15-12, forcing a timeout from the ISU bench.

Stacey Niao responded quickly for the `Birds, as she connected on a cross-court attack to give the Redbirds the point. Back-to-back Valpo kills, followed by another Dooms' ace would extend the Valparaiso lead to 19-14. A trio of points by the Redbirds allowed ISU to get back into the set, but the Crusaders proved to be too much, eventually winning the set, 25-22.

An error-laden start put the Redbirds down 5-2 early in the third set. A strong block from Ellen Vandenberg ignited a fierce battle, as the two teams exchanged jabs. A kill by Niao would give the Redbirds some breathing room at 20-18, making it the largest lead of the set for the Redbirds.

The Crusaders fought back with consecutive kills, tying the score, 21-21. An ISU error followed by a kill by Rosch once again tied it, 24-24. It was back-and-forth play for 12 consecutive points until Dooms notched back-to-back kills, giving Valparaiso the set, 30-28.

The Redbirds held an early lead in the third set, 9-5, but three ISU errors helped the Crusaders take the lead, 11-10. A fierce battle ensued, as the teams exchanged points late into the set. Tied 22-22, kills by Dooms and Morgan Beil gave Valparaiso a match-point. An ISU error was the final nail in the coffin, as the Crusaders won the set, 25-22.

The Redbirds are back in action Friday Oct. 25, in Terre Haute, Ind., against the Indiana State Sycamores at 7 p.m. (CT).

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