ISU's Weekend Road Test Features Valley's Two Top Teams
Oct. 18, 2007
NORMAL, Ill. -
The Illinois State volleyball team will look to build on its current four-match winning streak when the Redbirds embark on one of the Missouri Valley Conference's historically toughest road trips this weekend. ISU plays at Missouri State Friday, and will take on host Wichita State Saturday night. The Bears and Shockers enter this weekend tied atop the Valley standings at 8-1.
Illinois State (14-6, 6-3 MVC) is coming off last weekend's sweep of Valley foe Indiana State. Kari Staehlin led the offensive charge, collecting 14 kills on a season-best .700 hitting percentage. Katie Seyller added 11 kills (.500 hitting percentage); while Erin Lindsey tallied her 15th double-double of the season with 40 set assists and 11 digs.
Missouri State (19-3, 8-1 MVC) has won 14-of its last 15 matches. The Bears' only trip-up in conference play came at the hands of Wichita State on Oct. 5. MSU ranks second in the Valley in both kills (16.01 kpg) and blocks (2.94 bpg).
In the first match of the home-and-away series, the Bears defeated Illinois State in four games (32-30, 30-26, 21-30, 30-27) Sept. 22 at Redbird Arena. The Redbirds and Bears combined for 227 digs. ISU had 114 of them, the eighth-highest total in school history.
Wichita State (17-4, 8-1 MVC) has rolled off 10 consecutive wins after dropping a home decision to Northern Iowa on Sept. 15. The Shockers lead the Valley in hitting percentage (.263), opponent hitting percentage (.110) and assists (14.87 apg).
The Shockers swept Illinois State at Redbird Arena on Sept. 21 behind an efficient .259 hitting percentage and 17 kills by Emily Stockman. The three games were all vastly different, as the Redbirds trailed from the onset of the first game, gave up a big lead in the second frame and nearly completed a big comeback in the third game.
Illinois State had a memorable ending to the WSU-MSU road trip last season, when the Redbirds defeated the Shockers and Bears on back-to-back nights in the final weekend of regular-season Valley play. ISU defeated Wichita State in four games (31-29, 27-30, 33-31 and 30-25) at Charles Koch Arena, and outlasted Missouri State in five games (30-12, 30-26, 26-30, 26-30 and 15-12) at the Hammons Student Center.
It was the first time ISU swept the road trip since the 1999 season, and the first time any Valley school had accomplished the feat since the 2002 campaign, when Northern Iowa recorded the sweep.
Illinois State has a 64-49 combined all-time record against Missouri State and Wichita State. The Redbirds have a two-match edge (36-34) over the Bears, and have nearly doubled up the all-time series against the Shockers, 28-15.
Illinois State has fared much better on the road this season than it has at the confines of Redbird Arena. The Redbirds are 8-1 away from Normal, and are 4-4 at home. ISU has captured road wins over Northern Illinois (Aug. 28), Alabama (Sept. 1), Ball State (Sept. 8), Southern Illinois (Sept. 14) Evansville (Sept. 15), Drake (Sept. 29), Bradley (Oct. 5) and Indiana State (Oct. 13).