The volleyball team completed a three-game win streak last weekend against teams with 20 or more wins from the season before.
Two of those wins came from the Bradley Open two weeks ago, but the Braves (3-7) were able to extend the streak with their first road victory of the season against Fairfield.
The victories can be attributed to the team playing well on the court and coming together off the court.
This year, to start things fresh, coach Sean Burdette had the whole team stay in the dorms prior to school starting for 10 days.
“From what they have said, it has been a great experience and they have gelled a lot quicker,” Burdette said.
Junior Amy Reichel said this year there isn’t a barrier between the upperclassmen and the rest of the team.
“There is this new energy within the team and we all just want to play as hard as we can,” she said. “We’re going out there and the game is fun again.”
She contributed a lot of energy to Burdette’s new enthusiasm for the team. Reichel said his positive reinforcement and encouragement has really helped make the team better.
“We don’t want a repeat of last year and the year before,” she said.
Neither Burdette nor Reichel hesitated when asked how they think they will fair in the Missouri Valley Conference this year. Both expect to be playing in the MVC championships down the stretch.
Bradley 3, Fairfield 2
Reichel instilled an intimidating tone to Fairfield (2-9) as she opened the game with seven kills in the first set that added up to 16 for the match at the Northern Illinois Invitational.
“I know I finished strongly in the first set because I came out and did what I needed to do to finish that game,” she said.
Bradley hit a lull for the next two sets, but in the fourth it got off its heels to tie the match at two.
Late into the tiebreaking match Bradley found itself down 12-10 with just two points for error.
Burdette did what he was hired to do and gave the team the advice they needed to get the victory.
“We talked about having to side out well,” he said. “We came up very big on the defensive end of that match.”
Reichel was able to put the game in the books with a cross shot to notch the victory.
“The hit that I had was probably one of my better hits I’ve had so far,” she said.
The Braves were unable to win any games for the rest of the tournament.
“It was a very good test for us and to know we can compete right there with those teams,” Burdette said.
Freshman Annie Cave turned in an impressive performance and was selected to the all-tournament team.
“Annie stepped up very big for us,” Burdette said. “She provided not only offense, but defense in her blocking,” Burdette said. “She certainly brought a spark to the team this weekend.”
Today the Braves square off against Drake and tomorrow they will play against Creighton, a match Reichel is looking forward to.
“Creighton has always been one of the stronger teams in the conference and I am excited to see how we will perform against them,” she said.