Redbirds Dominate Bluejays in Quarterfinal
Jenny Menendez

Jenny Menendez

Nov. 24, 2011

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CEDAR FALLS, IOWA - The fifth-seeded Illinois State volleyball team (18-13, 9-9 MVC) defeated fourth-seeded Creighton (17-14, 12-6 MVC) in four sets (25-23, 23-25, 25-16, 25-15) in the quarterfinal match of the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. The Redbirds were led by Shannon McGlaughlin with 14 kills and Jenny Menendez with 25 digs.

"I think we served really well and got good touches on the block at the right time," said head coach Melissa Myers. "Our defense really complimented our block tonight and that is important. I really liked our execution."

The Redbirds started out with a 2-0 deficit, but quickly regained the lead as Creighton committed two middle attack errors to give Illinois State a 4-2 lead. ISU carried the lead through most of the first set, tallying a service ace from Jenny Menendez and kills from Tabitha Visk, Angela Rego, and Shannon McGlaughlin to push the Redbirds to a 13-8 lead. The Bluejays regained the lead with the help of three ISU hitting errors and an ace from Megan Bober and a kill from Karisa Almgren (13-12). Both teams continued to exchange points until ISU broke away after LeighAnn Hranka posted a finesse tip to put the Redbirds ahead 22-20. Creighton fought back within one point, but ISU closed the set 25-23 with a tool kill from Hranka.

Creighton controlled the beginning of the second set until Illinois State was able to tie the set 10-10. The Redbirds continued to fight and marked a two-point run with back-to-back kills from Hranka and Emily Schneider. Creighton answered right back with a two-point run, but Hranka was able to get the `Birds back on top with a tool-kill. The Bluejays made a late three-point run to take the lead and conclude the set 25-23 with a kill from Leah McNary.

Illinois State started out strong after the break with two aces and three blocks in five points. The Redbirds continued to thrive and went on an 11 point run with Kristin Stauter at the service line (14-4). McNary's kill broke the run, but ISU quickly regained possession with a kill from Brooklyn Hlafka. Creighton was able to get within five points, but Illinois State captured the third set 25-16.

The Redbirds carried their momentum through the fourth set and took an early 3-1 lead. ISU continued to press through the start of the set until the Bluejays compiled a four-point run off of two kills and two back-to-back blocks (10-7). Although the teams started to trade points, the Redbirds fired three consecutive kills and were able to hold the lead and win the set 25-15.

Illinois State outhit Creighton by seven kills and recorded a new four-set high nine service aces. The Redbirds will face defending champion Northern Iowa in the semifinal Friday Nov. 25, at 7:30 p.m.

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