Redbirds Defeat Bears, Move on in Conference Tournament
Ashley Rosch had a match-high 17 kills

Ashley Rosch had a match-high 17 kills

Nov. 28, 2013

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WICHITA, Kan. - On a day dedicated to giving thanks, the Illinois State volleyball team (19-12, 12-7) was thankful to have defeated the Missouri State Bears (21-11, 12-7) in four sets (29-27, 25-20, 20-25, 25-21) Thursday, eliminating MSU from the tournament and setting up a date with host Wichita State Friday.

The Redbirds were led in the match by Ashley Rosch with 17 kills on a .333 clip, also adding 10 digs and two block assists. Emily Schneider added 11 kills while hitting .348, while Brooklyn Hlafka added 10 kills. Kaitlyn Early amassed 46 assists and 16 digs in the match while Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Libero of the Year Emily Orrick added 17 digs. The Redbirds outhit the Bears .226 to .136, committing just 19 errors to the Bears 37.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Missouri State and everything Melissa (Stokes) has done with that team," Melissa Myers said. "They're a great team with a lot of talented players. I'm happy to walk out of here with a win tonight, but give a lot of credit to the Bears and what they've been able to do this season."

Tied 10-10 early in the first set, the Bears recorded back-to-back service aces to give MSU the edge, 12-10. Kills by Olivia Brand and Kayla Walton pushed the lead to 14-12. Three consecutive errors by Illinois State forced Myers to call a timeout with her team trailing, 17-12. A pair of kills by Stacey Niao highlighted a 5-2 run by the Redbirds, forcing MSU to call a timeout, 20-17. Rosch recorded three more kills over a short stretch, but Missouri State held the lead, 23-22. A kill by Walton setup a match-point for the Bears, 24-22, but a service error and a kill by Niao tied the set, 24-24. After an exchange of points, the Redbirds got a kill from Hranka and an MSU error to lock up the first set, 29-27.

Illinois State built an early lead in the second set on a kill by Hlafka and a pair of MSU errors, 3-0. Kills by Hlafka and Schneider extended the lead, 6-3, but Missouri State benefitted from kills by Brand and Carly Thomas to tie the set, 6-6. Five errors by MSU allowed the Redbirds to establish a four-point lead, 14-9, forcing the Bears to call a timeout. The two teams combined for 10 kills over the next 16 points, setting up the Redbirds with a slim lead, 20-18. Rosch, Schneider and Hlafka each recorded a kill over the final seven points, eventually locking up the set, 25-20.

Missouri State claimed an early lead in the fourth set, 10-6, but a kill by Early and three consecutive MSU errors evened the score, 10-10. The Bears utilized two kills from Karen Rivatto as part of a 6-2 run to take the lead, 16-12. After an exchange of points, a kill by Niao would get ISU within two points, 21-19, but MSU pulled away on a pair of Redbird errors, locking up the set, 25-20.

The Bears once again claimed an early lead in the fourth set, 7-5, but surrendered a pair of errors, allowing ISU to pull even, 7-7. The Redbirds managed to pull away from the Bears, as a kill by Schneider gave ISU a three point lead, 16-13. Consecutive attack errors by ISU forced another Redbird timeout, 16-15. Out of a timeout, kills by Rosch, Ashleigh Fisher and LeighAnn Hranka gave Illinois State the lead, 19-16. The Bears would never get closer than two points the rest of the set, as ISU pulled away on five team kills to lock up the set and the match, 25-20.

The Redbirds will take on the Wichita State Shockers Friday, Nov. 29, at 7:35 p.m. (CT) in the second round of the conference tournament.

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