Redbirds End Regular Season with Win Against Evansville
Emily Orrick had a career-high 36 digs in the match
Emily Orrick had a career-high 36 digs in the match

Nov. 23, 2013

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. - Ending the regular season on a high note, the Illinois State volleyball team (18-12, 11-7) defeated the Evansville Purple Aces (9-20, 4-14) in four sets (21-25, 25-20, 25-14, 25-11) Saturday, matching the team's overall record from a season ago and creating momentum heading into the conference tournament next week.

The Redbirds were led in the match by Ashley Rosch with a season-high tying 18 kills on a .385 clip. Rosch was one of five players for ISU with double-digit kills, as Brooklyn Hlafka, LeighAnn Hranka, Stacey Niao and Emily Schneider all collected at least 10 kills each. Emily Orrick nabbed a career-high 36 digs while Kaitlyn Early tossed 55 assists in the match. As a team, the Redbirds hit .367 on the night, limiting the Purple Aces to just a .161 attack percentage.

The first set was the lone blemish on the night for the Redbirds, as ISU could not slow the Purple Aces offense. The Aces hit .429 in the set as a team, keeping the Redbirds without a block. Ashley Ring and Emma Roberson each had six kills in the set. Leading 23-19 late in the frame, Evansville's final two points came on the right arm of Roberson, ending the set, 25-21.

The Redbirds responded in the second set, as two kills by Rosch and two errors by Evansville gave ISU the lead, 4-0. Evansville would battle back to get within two points, 10-8, but ISU reeled off a 5-1 run highlighted by kills from Niao and Rosch to make it 15-9. The Aces would never get closer than three points for the remainder of the set, as a service error gave ISU the ball back, 18-14. Rosch would add three more kills, Niao added two, and the `Birds eventually took the second set, 25-20.

Following halftime, a kill by Ashleigh Fisher and two errors by the Purple Aces once again gave ISU a quick lead, 3-0. After a series of point exchanges, three consecutive kills by Emily Schneider gave the Redbirds a nine-point advantage, 15-6. Kills by Hlafka and Hranka would give the Redbirds their biggest lead, 22-10, while kills from Rosch, Niao and a UE error ended the set, 25-14. ISU hit .458 as a team in the set.

Orrick headlined another strong start for ISU, recording back-to-back service aces to force an Evansville timeout, 6-2. A pair of kills from Niao extended the Redbirds lead, 11-5. Highlighted by Orrick on defense, ISU picked up 21 digs in the set, including nine by the first-year libero, as the `Birds limited the Purple Aces to just an .079 attack percentage in the set. Up 23-11 late, Danielle Donahue recorded her first ace of the match to give ISU a set point, 24-11. Off a set from Early, Niao lit up the Aces defense for the final kill of the match, ending the set 25-11.

The Redbirds will return to action Thursday, Nov. 28, in the first round of the conference tournament against Missouri State in Wichita, Kan.

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