Monday, October 15, 2018

Bradley Volleyball drops four-set match to Illinois State

Bradley freshman Hannah Thompson sends over one of her team-high 55 attacks on Monday night at Illinois State. The Braves would go on to lose the match in four sets, 3-1. PHOTO / ALEX STAAB
Normal, Ill. - The Bradley Braves (16-5) (6-3) were looking to win a road match on Monday night at Illinois State (16-5) (8-1). True road matches are something that haven't exactly been all that kind to the Braves, with all five of the losses coming on the road.

It was Bradley drawing first blood in the opening set, coming off a kill from Erica Haslag. It remained close for basically the entire set, with the Illinois State lead sitting at just 15-13 at the first media timeout.

The host Redbirds would go on a 5-2 run from that point, something the Bradley head coach Carol Price-Torok didn't like, calling Bradley's first timeout of the set, down 18-15.

The timeout didn't seem to do the trick, as Illinois State went on another 5-2 run to increase their lead to 23-17, when Price-Torok called the Braves' final timeout.

That 5-2 run would turn into a 7-2 run, as the Redbirds would take the opening set, 25-17.

When the second set got underway, instead of a fairly back-and-forth start, it was Illinois State taking early control. So much so, that the Braves had used both of their timeouts by the twelfth combined point, with the Redbirds leading 9-3.

Bradley was able to mount a comeback, getting within 19-13 and forcing the Redbirds to call a timeout.

Illinois State still managed to take the second set as well, out-scoring Bradley 6-4 the rest of the way and winning the set by the identical score of the opening set, 25-17.

That put the Braves in a win or go home situation. Keep in mind, of the five losses for the Braves, none of them had been three-set sweeps. In fact, the last three-set loss on the road for Bradley was Saturday, November 4th, 2017, at Valparaiso.

That Valparaiso match would stand. With a Haslag kill getting it started, the Braves propelled out to a 5-0 lead, forcing Illinois State to call a quick timeout.

The Redbirds capitalized on the timeout, going on a 10-5 run and tying the set up at 10 apiece. But that would be about as close as Illinois State would get. A Hannah Thompson kill put the Redbirds out of timeouts and Bradley had control of the set at the moment.

Bradley seized control and didn't stop there, allowing four Illinois State points through the remainder of the set, and forcing a fourth set, 25-18.

If you weren't at Redbird Arena, buckle up for the wildness of the fourth set. Neither team even had a five-point lead the entire set.

The blows were traded on both sides, with Illinois State taking the set's largest lead a 12-8 about mid-way through.

All the way up until the 20-point mark, yes, it was still tied.

It would be Illinois State drawing match point, up 24-23. Bradley was able to regroup and tie it up at 24.

Just a point later, the Redbirds would regain match point and turn it into a win, taking the final set, 26-24.

The Braves have the middle of the week off before hosting Missouri State on Friday and Southern Illinois on Saturday.

Bradley Statistical Leaders:
Kills | Erica Haslag (14)
Attacks | Hannah Thompson (55)
Hitting Percentage (min. 5 attacks) | Hannah Angeli (.385)
Assists | Hannah Angeli (29)
Aces | Kat Poore (3)
Digs | Yavianliz Rosado (27)
Solo Blocks | Alissa Schovanec (1)
Block Assists | Kathryn Graf (4)
Points | Erica Haslag (14.5)

Statistics via Illinois State Athletics

Follow Alex Staab on Twitter (@StaabAlex)

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