The Braves volleyball team lost another game in consecutive sets Tuesday, this time to Northern Iowa by a score of 25-20, 25-18, 25-19. The loss extends Bradley’s losing streak to eight matches.
Bradley has only won two sets during the losing streak, with those two sets coming in the same match against Southeast Missouri State.
The match against Northern Iowa, one of the best teams in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), was going to be a tough one from the start, according to head coach Jenny Maurer.
“They’re at the top of the conference year in and year out for a reason,” Maurer said. “They’re an established program.”
The first set was back-and-forth until the Panthers went on a late run to pull ahead 23-16 and finished it a few points later.
The Braves led early in the second set, but the Panthers rallied back to pull ahead 17-16. A 5-0 run after that put the match out of reach for the Braves.
The third set was similar to the second. Bradley pulled ahead early and eventually held a 14-11 lead. But UNI, as they had all day, clutched up and went on a 9-2 run to go ahead 20-16. The Panthers never looked back as they completed the sweep.
“Even against a team like this, we had opportunities and took advantage of them,” Maurer said. “We were competitive in the first half of every set, but they just knew how to finish.”
Freshmen Allison Turner and Erica Haslag filled the stat sheet for the Braves. Turner led the team with 13 kills, and Haslag added an additional 10 kills. Senior Lea Sack and freshman Abby Ihrke both recorded 12 digs for the Braves on defense.
“Turner and Haslag have been consistent top performers for us on offense,” Maurer said.
Bradley will hit the road this weekend for more MVC play and will try to end their losing streak. The Braves take on Southern Illinois on Friday and Evansville on Saturday.
“Neither team is going to make it easy on us,” Maurer said. “The team that plays cleaner will come out on top.”