Garbes Shines, Redbirds Defeat Bradley, 3-1
Nov. 1, 2013
NORMAL, Ill. - Fitting with the Halloween theme, the Illinois State volleyball team (16-7, 9-2) disguised themselves well, utilizing effective personnel changes to defeat the Bradley Braves (11-10, 5-7) over four sets (21-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-19) Friday, keeping pace atop the always competitive Missouri Valley Conference (MVC).
The Redbirds were led by Ratasha Garbes in her most playing-time this season, as the freshman notched 38 assists and 23 digs. Ashley Rosch picked up a double-double with 14 kills and 13 digs, Emily Orrick added 23 digs, and Emily Schneider tied a career-high with 10 block assists. Junior captain Stacey Niao also had a double-double for ISU, as the New Zealand native compiled 10 kills with 20 digs, while senior Brooklyn Hlafka was dominant from the right side, tabbing 12 kills in the match.
Illinois State jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead, but a Bradley 4-0 run to tie the set. ISU grabbed another point but the Braves regained momentum and scored seven-straight points to take a 13-7 lead thanks to several attack-errors by the Redbirds. Illinois State ended the run, but Bradley didn't stay down long, as it went on another 8-1 run, increasing its lead to 12 points, 21-9. Illinois State wasn't going down without a fight, as it used 4-0 and 5-0 runs to get back into the match. LeighAnn Hranka served five-straight points for ISU, but a service error gave the Braves the set, 25-21. Rosch led the Redbirds with four kills in the set. The Redbird hitters tallied 10 kills with 11 errors in the set. Despite the rough hitting performance, ISU collected 5.5 team blocks.
In the second set, ISU regrouped during the break and took a 16-10 advantage, but a 4-0 run by Bradley forced an Illinois State timeout, 16-13, giving ISU a slight advantage. After the break, the two teams traded points, until a 3-0 run by ISU gave the Redbirds a 20-15 lead. Back-to-back blocks by Rosch and Schneider gave Illinois State a five-point benefit, 23-18. Bradley couldn't overcome the deficit, as the two teams headed into the locker room at the break tied one set apiece. Hlafka had four kills, while Hranka and Rosch each had three. ISU continued to be dominant at the net, collecting six team blocks, while Schneider had one solo block.
Bradley and Illinois State traded points early in the third set and were tied at 10-10, until the Redbirds used a 5-0 run to take a 15-10 lead. Niao had two kills during the run. However, Bradley responded with a run of its own, getting back within two points, 15-13 and forced an ISU timeout. The Braves scored four-straight points to take a one-point lead, 18-17, and forced the Redbirds to take another timeout in the second half of the set. With several ties in the second half of the match, Illinois State grabbed the momentum and scored two-straight points, 22-20, forcing Bradley to take a timeout. Late kills by Hlafka and Niao gave the Redbirds the victory, 25-23. In the set, Niao had six kills with a hitting percentage of 56, while Garbes distributed 14 assists.
Like the third set, the Redbirds and the Braves battled early and were tied several times until ISU recorded three-straight kills to take a 13-11 lead and force a Bradley timeout. After the timeout, Garbes and Schneider teamed up for a block before a kill by Rosch. A Bradley error increased ISU's lead to five, 16-11, and BU took another timeout. The teams traded points late in the set, but Bradley couldn't overcome the Redbirds' run, as ISU won the set, 25-19, to take the match. Rosch and Hlafka both tallied three kills, while Schneider had four block assists.
The Redbirds will host Loyola Saturday at 7:05 p.m. (CT), in Redbird Arena.
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