Redbirds Fall in Tournament Championship, 3-1
Brooklyn Hlafka

Brooklyn Hlafka

Sep 1, 2013

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Illinois State volleyball team (2-1) was defeated by Virginia Commonwealth (3-0) in four sets (25-15, 22-25, 23-25, 21-25) in the championship match of the IUPUI Hampton Inn Invitational Saturday. Senior Brooklyn Hlafka led the offense for the Redbirds, contributing 13 kills and 14.5 total points.

The Redbirds got off to a fast start, stifling the Rams in the first set with a balanced team attack. Tied 1-1 early, ISU reeled off five straight points on two kills by junior Emily Schneider and three straight VCU errors. Later in the set, with the `Birds up 12-10, junior Kaitlyn Early went to work, adding two service aces, a kill, and an assist over the span of six-consecutive points, extending the lead to 18-10. Early would pick up another kill and another assist down the stretch, as the Redbirds easily closed out the first set 25-15.

Tied 4-4 in the beginning of the second set, the Rams offense found its stride, as they put together eight kills during a 10-2 run that put VCU out in front, 14-6. The Redbirds would fight back, narrowing the scoring gap after sophomore Ashley Rosch collected four kills, in addition to Hlafka and LeighAnn Hranka adding three kills of their own, setting the score at 22-20. The early deficit was too much to overcome however, as the Rams would hold on to capture the second set, 25-22.

A rough start to the third set by the Rams gave the Redbirds the edge early, as they capitalized on three errors by VCU and took the lead 5-1. The Rams didn't panic, and utilized a methodical offensive approach to pull even with the Redbirds at 12-12. At that point, Romana Kriskova, the reigning Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Year, recorded her best set of the match, compiling seven kills to highlight an explosive third set for VCU, winning 25-23.

The Redbirds once again started fast in the fourth set, going up 4-0 on three VCU errors and an Early kill, but would eventually be undone by the service game of the Rams. VCU notched four service aces in the set, and often forced ISU into bad passes coming off the serve. While the Redbird's offensive efficiency picked up, hitting a combined .259 in the fourth set, it was not enough to dismantle the well-rounded VCU lineup, who would take the set 25-21.

The Redbirds will be back in action on Sept. 6 against Grand Canyon in the first match of the Nevada-Reno Tournament held in Reno, Nev. Redbird volleyball games can be heard live on GoRedbirds.com and WJBC.com.

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