Volleyball Heads Southwest, Tough Road Challenges Await
Nov. 7, 2013
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - In a crucial weekend towards conference standings, the Illinois State volleyball team (16-8, 9-3) is set to take on the Missouri State Bears (17-9, 8-5) Friday followed by the Wichita State Shockers (21-6, 10-3) Saturday in a slate of matches that feature the second, third and fourth ranked teams in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC).
Currently in third-place in the conference, the Redbirds are led on the season by Ashley Rosch with 273 kills, averaging 3.04 kills per set. Stacey Niao ranks second in both kills (229) and digs (253), while Emily Orrick has a team-high 432 digs. Kaitlyn Early has added 222 digs while amassing 908 assists. Defensively, Emily Schneider leads the team with 104 total blocks, tallying 18 solo blocks and 86 block assists.
After starting conference play with a 7-0 record, which included key victories over both the Shockers and Bears in mid-October, the Redbirds have struggled in their recent contests. Since Oct. 18, the Redbirds have gone a combined 2-4, dropping conference matches against Northern Iowa, Indiana State and Loyola. Despite the record, ISU has still outhit the opposition .166 to .133 during that stretch, while also averaging more kills, assists, service aces and blocks per set. The Redbirds lead the MVC in opponent hitting-percentage (.141), while ranking second in blocks per set (2.50) and digs per set (17.18).
The Bears, currently in fourth-place in the MVC, are led on the season by Olivia Brand with 217 kills, while Kayla Walton has added 175 kills on a .330 clip. Setter Carly Thomas recently eclipsed quadruple digits in assists, tossing 1,018 on the season while leading the Bears to a combined .246 team attack-percentage, their highest percentage since 2003. Ashley Mason leads the back court with 451 digs, while Amber Doolittle has a team-high 64 total blocks. Currently, the Bears rank second in the MVC in kills per set (14.12), hitting percentage (.246), assists per set (13.26) and service aces per set (1.18).
Wichita State, just one game out of first-place, is highlighted by current MVC-leader Ashley Andrade with a .461 attack-percentage. The senior standout has collected 290 kills, averaging 3.15 kills per set. Ashlyn Driskill and Sam Sanders have both surpassed the 200-kill mark, nabbing 207 and 205 kills respectively. Chelsey Feekin has 967 assists while six players have collected triple-digit digs this season. A dual-threat, the Shockers currently lead the MVC in hitting percentage (.279) and blocks per set (2.56).
All Redbird matches can be heard live on GoRedbirds.com and WJBC.com.
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