Road to the Tournament; Volleyball Heads to Wichita
Nov. 26, 2013
WICHITA, Kan. - Roughly three months in the making, the Illinois State volleyball team (18-12, 11-7) will head to Wichita, Kan., to compete in the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Tournament. The Redbirds are slated to take on Missouri State (21-10, 12-6) Thursday, Nov. 28, at 7:30 p.m. (CT) in the first round of competition.
Illinois State is making its 31st tournament appearance out of 32 total conference tournaments in program history. ISU earned the fifth-seed, while Wichita State, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois, Missouri State and Bradley also earned berths. Wichita State and Northern Iowa will receive first-round byes as the two teams split the regular-season conference title. Southern Illinois will take on Bradley in first round action.
Illinois State is led on the season by Ashley Rosch with 356 kills, averaging 3.18 kills per set. Stacey Niao ranks second in both kills (258) and digs (293) while Emily Orrick leads the team with 540 digs. Kaitlyn Early has commanded the offense efficiently, compiling 1,113 assists while Emily Schneider has keyed the defense with 128 total blocks.
MSU is led by Olivia Brand with 274 kills and Kayla Walton with a .332 hitting percentage. Carly Thomas is one of the leading setters in the conference with 1,263 assists while Ashley Mason leads the team with 545 digs. Amber Doolittle and Kaylin Vlasin lead the defense with 80 and 50 total blocks respectively.
In their two meetings this season, the Redbirds and Bears split the matches, with each team winning at home. Most recently, ISU lost to MSU in Springfield, Mo., Nov. 8, in a straight-set sweep. The Bears hold the all-time series record, 47-42. The Bears have made it to six of the last 12 conference tournament finales. Missouri State won the conference tournament in 2008, the last time it was held in Wichita, Kan.
The winner will face Wichita State Friday, Nov. 29, at 7:30 p.m. (CT).
All Redbird matches can be heard live on GoRedbirds.com and WJBC.com.
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