Bradley volleyball continues struggles in MVC play

As the saying goes, when it rains, it pours. And the Bradley volleyball team is just hoping the storm passes through quickly as it dropped two more home matches last weekend.

The Braves lost to Wichita State in four sets Friday and to Missouri State in three sets Saturday. After starting the season with a program-best 5-0 record, they have dropped to 6-10 overall including being 0-5 in Missouri Valley Conference play and 0-6 at home.

“It’s obviously very frustrating and we’re all trying to find new ways to get back to the high point that we were at the start of the season,” junior Alise Tupuritis said. “You can only say so much.”

Bradley won the first set 25-20 against Wichita State before losing the next three sets. Tupuritis led the Braves with nine kills against Wichita State while junior Amy Angelos and senior Madelyn Ervin finished with eight. Junior Lauren Zerante topped Bradley with 21 digs.

“It does make it tougher knowing that as a freshman I kind of hoped by my senior year we would be this amazing team,” Ervin said. “But I still have high hopes for all of us. I’m still here and I’m still making my presence on the court and trying to motivate everyone who comes in every year to do better and I’m still hoping for that kind of result.”

Missouri State swept Bradley in three sets as the Bears finished with a .261 attack percentage compared to the Braves total of .161. Tupuritis earned a double-double in the match with 10 kills and 10 digs.

“We are just trying to push through it,” Ervin said. “The past three years we’ve had some losing streaks that we’ve had to overcome and what not, but we are trying to put everything in the past. As far as that goes, we are just getting better in the gym, trying to forget about the games, and knowing that we can beat the teams and that we are better than that.”

The Braves will head to Drake, the only other winless team in conference action, for a match at 7 p.m. Friday. Then, Bradley will go up against Creighton at 5 p.m. Saturday. After the two-match road swing, Bradley will play four consecutive home games.

“It’s kind of at a low point right now but everyone is still looking ahead and we still have a long ways to go in conference season,” Tupuritis said. “There’s still hope and people are still believing, working hard and still have every ounce of hope that we can get there still.”