Saturday Volleyball Recaps (Oct. 30)
In Saturday MVC volleyball action, Creighton moved back into sole possession of second place in the league standings with a 3-1 decision over visiting Illinois State, while No. 13 UNI continued its perfect Valley slate, tallying a 3-0 sweep over Evansville. Southern Illinois and Drake continue to make moves in the middle of the pack, posting wins over Bradley and Indiana State, respectively.
CREIGHTON 3, ILLINOIS STATE 1
CU (15-8, 10-3 MVC); ILS (15-11, 5-8 MVC)
OMAHA, Neb. - Creighton clinched an eighth straight MVC Tournament bid with a 3-1 victory over Illinois State on Saturday night at D.J. Sokol Arena. Scores of the match were 25-21, 25-27, 25-17, 25-14.
Creighton improved to 15-8 on the season and moves back into sole possession of second in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 10-3 league mark. The Redbirds, coming off a 3-2 comeback victory at Drake on Friday night, fell to 15-11 on the year and are 5-8 in conference play.
Creighton controlled play most of the night, losing the second set only after a major comeback by the 'Birds.
The Jays never trailed in a 25-21 first set victory behind five kills each by Laurel Sanford and Alicia Runge. Julianne Mandolfo had 11 of Creighton's 26 digs in the opening frame. Creighton led 20-13 before ISU closed within three at 20-17. The 'Birds rally would get them as close as 23-21 before kills from Allie Oelke and Karisa Almgren ended the set.
Creighton raced to a 7-2 lead early in the second set, extending that margin to 18-9 and 20-12 before an epic Illinois State comeback. The 'Birds scored seven straight points on Mallory Leggett's serve to get within one, and eventually tied the score at 22-all on a block by LeighAnn Hranka. ISU survived a Creighton set point at 24-23 when CU served into the net, and earned a 26-25 lead a short time later with another Bluejay service miscue. ISU then won the second set 27-25 on a CU attack error, knotting the match at one. Illinois State had 36 digs in the second set alone, which featured 22 attacks by Leggett.
After falling behind 3-0 early in the third set Creighton scored the next five points to take the lead for good. CU created a cushion with a 4-0 run on Mandolfo's serve, and later pushed the margin to 20-11. An Oelke kill through the block ended the third set, 25-17, as Creighton hit .326.
Creighton controlled the fourth set against an Illinois State team that appeared exhausted. The Bluejays hit .333 with 14 kills and three blocks, while ISU hit -.057 in 35 swings and dug just 11 balls. Creighton broke free from a 10-8 lead with a 12-4 spurt and closed out the match when Megan Bober and Sanford teamed to block Leggett.
Creighton was led by Sanford's 13 kills and six blocks, while Runge had 11 kills. Oelke had 11 kills and 16 digs for her 40th career double-double, and Bober had 37 assists, eight kills and seven digs. Mandolfo had a match-high 24 digs, with all of those coming in the first three sets. Creighton finished with 60 kills, four aces, 90 digs and nine blocks while hitting .239.
Illinois State was led by 13 kills and 15 digs by Leggett. With starting setter Kristin Stauter out of the line-up, replacements Sarah Fetter (25 assists, 15 digs) and Laura Wakefield (11 assists, 18 digs) stepped in and notched first career double-doubles. Libero Jenny Menendez led ISU with 20 digs on the evening. Illinois State finished with 47 kills, five aces, 93 digs and 6.5 blocks while hitting .103.
Creighton returns to action next weekend with its final road trip of the regular-season, a pivotal swing at third-place Wichita State (Friday, 7 pm) and fourth-place Missouri State (Saturday, 7 pm).
No. 13 UNI 3, EVANSVILLE 0
UNI (22-2, 13-0 MVC); UE (16-8 5-7 MVC)
EVANSVILLE, Ind. - The No. 13-ranked University of Northern Iowa volleyball team picked up its 17th-straight victory of the 2010 season Saturday evening, sweeping Evansville. Set scores were 25-13, 25-17, 25-17.
For the night UNI hit a season-best .455 with three Panthers hitting better than .500. Defensively, the Panthers held Evansville to just a .147 efficiency.
Amy Braun led the way for the Panthers on the offensive and defensive end, registering a match-high 15 kills and 13 digs for her seventh double-double of the season. Beth Discher and Michelle Burow also finished with double-digit kill numbers with Discher knocking down 13 and Burow 10. Bre Payton also dished out 38 assists in the win.
Ellie Blankenship also finished with double-digit digs numbers, grabbing 10 digs.
With Evansville up 5-4 in the first set, UNI went on a 9-0 run to take a 13-5 lead. Evansville would get no closer than six points the rest of the way as UNI took the set 25-13. Braun knocked down six kills in the set while Burow and Discher each finished with four. UNI hit .457 while holding Evansville to just .121.
UNI continued the hot hitting in set two, finishing the set with a .696 efficiency. Braun again led the Panther attack with five kills. UNI jumped to an early 4-1 lead before the Purple Aces cut it to two at 4-2. The Panthers answered, rattling off three straight points to take a 7-3 lead. That would be as close as the Aces could get, as UNI continued to roll, eventually taking the set 25-17.
Evansville built an early 10-6 lead on the Panthers before UNI came back to tie the set at 12-12. The Aces tied the set again 14-14 but UNI finished the set on an 11-3 run to take the 25-17 set win.
UNI (22-2, 13-0 MVC) returns to action next weekend, traveling to Bradley. First serve is set for 7 p.m.
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 3, BRADLEY 1
SIU (14-8, 5-7 MVC); BU (6-20, 1-12 MVC)
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois volleyball team won a grudge match against Bradley Saturday afternoon, defeating the Braves 25-19, 21-25, 25-23, 25-12.
Alicia Johnson, Jennifer Berwanger and Rachael Brown all recorded double-doubles in the four-set victory for SIU (14-7, 5-7 MVC).
Bradley (6-20, 1-12 MVC) held the advantage early in the first set, leading SIU 7-2. Bailey Yeager served six-straight points with help from Johnson and Berwanger kills and a big solo block by Alysia Mayes. The Salukis played off of BU errors to ride an 18-14 lead to win the first.
The Braves would not go quietly however, and made a statement in the second set. The two teams traded points almost the entire way, tying the score a total of 15 times until it was locked at 20. Bradley went on a spree, and two SIU timeouts couldn't stop their run as the Braves slid into the break with a victory in set two.
Southern still had trouble distancing itself from Bradley in the third, down 18-13. The Salukis were able to muster a comeback, keyed by the strong play of middle blockers Mayes and Jasmine Conner. Conner put down three kills to bring the Dawgs to within one at 20-19, before her final kill of the set sealed a narrow 25-23 win.
SIU ran away with the fourth set, scoring 10 straight points to go up 22-10. Berwanger, Johnson and Mayes found the holes in the BU defense, allowing the Salukis to regain control of the match.
Mayes finished with 12 kills and Conner ended with nine, hitting .444.
Although the team's nine service errors disrupted their flow, the Salukis' defensive effort improved from the night before, with five players tallying double-digit digs, led by Lauren Blumhorst with a match-high 20. Brown guided the offense with 44 assists to go along with her 10 digs.
SIU is back on the road next weekend, continuing its quest to qualify for the MVC Tournament. The Salukis take on Illinois State Friday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m., and Indiana State Saturday, Nov. 6 at 6 p.m. Southern defeated both teams three weeks ago in Davies Gym.
DRAKE 3, INDIANA STATE 2
DU (21-7, 6-7 MVC); INS (9-17, 1-12 MVC)
DES MOINES, Iowa - The Drake University volleyball team made its parents' night crowd nervous, but pulled out a 3-2 (22-25, 25-14, 20-25, 25-17, 16-14) victory over Indiana State Saturday at the Knapp Center.
The Bulldogs dropped the first set and came back to win for just the fourth time this season. Drake rebounded in the second set due in large part to seniors Mikayla Sims and Alisa DeBerg Roth combining for eight kills and the defense holding Indiana State to an .062 attack percentage.
After tying a Drake single-game record with 39 digs last night against Illinois State, senior libero Alana Wittenburg tallied a match-high 22 digs and fell just five short of breaking her own single-season digs record of 633 digs. Wittenburg's dig total stands at 629 on the season.
Offensively, the Bulldogs had four players tally double-digit kill numbers, led by senior Angela Bys with 19. Sims and DeBerg Roth tallied 10 and 15, respectively with DeBerg Roth's total representing a season-high. The senior also tied sophomore Emily Heffernen for the match-high with five block assists.
Sophomore Whitney Westrum notched her sixth-straight double-double with 12 kills and 14 digs. Westrum also had Drake's only solo blocks of the night and helped the Bulldogs to a 9-4 advantage in the team blocks department.
Drake hit .348 on the night with just 14 attack errors to Indiana State's 21. DeBerg Roth led the Bulldogs with a .448 mark.
The Bulldogs improved to 21-7 overall and 6-7 in the MVC. Indiana State fell to 9-17 overall and 1-12 in MVC play.
Drake travels to Missouri State on Friday (Nov. 5) to take on the Bears in a 7 p.m. matchup.