Redbirds Beat Southern Illinois to Advance in MVC Tournament
Kaitlyn Early
Kaitlyn Early

Nov. 22, 2012

Final Stats Post-Match Interview

SPRINGFIELD, Mo - The Illinois State (18-11, 11-7 MVC) volleyball team cruised past Southern Illinois (21-9, 11-7 MVC) in three-sets in the first round of the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in Springfield, Mo., Thursday night. ISU was led by Brooklyn Hlafka with 11 kills and Ashley Rosch added 10 kills and seven digs.

Jenny Menendez recorded a match-high 23 digs and Kaitlyn Early posted a double-double with 36 assists and 13 digs, along with five kills. Illinois State outhit Southern Illinois by 14 kills and compiled a .277 team hitting percentage compared to SIU's .145. The Redbirds recorded 11additonal digs than Southern Illinois and had three players record hitting percentages above .300.

Illinois State opened the first set with a 3-0 run, with kills from Rosch, Emily Schneider and Hlafka. Southern Illinois made their way back into the match with three-straight points to tie the set, 6-6. Both teams exchanged points until Hlafka blasted three-consecutive kills and an ace by Menendez gave Illinois State a 16-14 lead. ISU was able to hold the lead and closed the set with an additional kill from Hlafka and a SIU attack error on set point for a 25-21 ISU victory. Hlafka led all players with six kills in the first set.

In the second set, Southern Illinois marked the first three points on the board until Illinois State was able to tie the set with three-consecutive kills, 6-6. The Redbirds tallied a four-point run with kills from LeighAnn Hranka, Schneider and Rosh to regain the lead 12-9. Illinois State led by at least three points the entire set and ended the set on a kill from Hlafka, 25-21.

After the break, the Redbirds and Salukis traded points until the Redbirds broke away with two kills from Stacey Niao and a block from Hranka and Hlafka for a 5-3 advantage. Illinois State earned a three-point run to extend its lead 10-6, forcing Southern Illinois to call a timeout. The Salukis were able to get within two points, but an additional ISU five-point string put the Redbirds ahead 21-15. SIU held Illinois State at match-point for three points, but the Redbirds closed the match with a kill from Niao, 25-10.

Illinois State will face first-place seeded, Creighton on Friday, Nov. 23, at 5 p.m.

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