Perfect Conference Record Intact, Redbirds Defeat Braves 3-0
Oct. 5, 2013
PEORIA, Ill. - Keeping up with the winning trend ISU displayed across multiple sports during homecoming weekend, the Illinois State volleyball team (12-4, 5-0) defeated the Bradley Braves (9-5, 3-2) in straight sets (25-18, 25-19, 25-16) Saturday, remaining perfect in conference play and keeping pace atop the conference. LeighAnn Hranka and Stacey Niao led the Redbirds with eight kills, while Ashley Rosch and Emily Schneider added seven kills each.
Following a night in which ISU was tightly contested by the Loyola Ramblers, the Redbirds demonstrated consistent and effective team play against Bradley, utilizing multiple players on offense as six players had at least four kills. Kaitlyn Early distributed the wealth evenly, collecting 33 assists and four kills while keeping the Braves defense guessing.
Errors marred the first five points of the match, as ISU jumped out in front on four Braves errors, 4-1. A Redbird service error gave the ball back to the Braves, as they battled back to erase the deficit. Three kills by Alise Tupuritis keyed the rally, and the score evened at 7-7. The Redbirds responded, reeling off a 17-4 scoring run, in which four `Birds recorded at least two kills, giving ISU a set-point, 24-11. Tupuritis once again ignited a Bradley rally, as the Braves scored the next seven points to pull within six, 24-18. Hranka would eventually convert a set from Early into a kill, effectively sealing the first set for ISU, 25-18.
Similar to the first set, two Bradley errors and a kill by Rosch gave ISU an early edge, 3-0. This time, Kristi Chynoweth led the rally for BU, notching four kills while rallying her team back in the set, eventually taking the lead from ISU, 15-13. A wisely utilized timeout by head coach Melissa Myers aided the Redbirds in erasing the small deficit, as two kills from Rosch helped ISU take an 18-17 lead. Highlighted by scrappy defensive plays by Emily Orrick, who had eight digs in the set, the Redbirds went on a 7-2 scoring run to lock up the set, 25-19.
Seeking to capitalize on the opportunity, the Redbirds aggressively took command of the third set early, as three kills from Hranka and three Bradley errors contributed to ISU building an early lead, 11-6. A slew of errors from both teams during multiple long rallies eventually pushed the score to 24-16, giving the Redbirds a match-point. Similar to the ending they demonstrated in their match the previous night, a solo block by Brooklyn Hlafka solidified the victory for the Redbirds.
The Redbirds return to action Friday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m. (CT) in Normal, Ill., as they host Wichita State.
All Redbird matches can be heard live on GoRedbirds.com and WJBC.com.
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