Volleyball falls in conference play to top teams

The Bradley volleyball team suffered two home losses last weekend to a pair of Missouri Valley foes that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season.

Saturday, Wichita State dominated the Braves for a three-set victory, 25-18, 25-15 and 25-13.

“It’s hard when you know your team is deflated, and that you aren’t able to pull out of it,” coach Jenny Maurer said. “But we played a good team and the credit is to [the Shockers].”

Wichita State never trailed throughout the entire match, helped by a .451 attack percentage and a perfect 14-for-14 on side outs in the third set. In comparison, Bradley only mustered a .150 attack percentage.

The Shockers now have a 17-match winning streak against Bradley and lead the all-time series 32-18.

“We can control our side of the net,” Maurer said. “It’s about our mental state. You can’t replace that, and there are no shortcuts.”

Wichita State finished the match with a 47-34 advantage in kills, and a 9-3 lead in blocks.

Sophomores Alise Tupuritis and Amy Angelos led the team with 11 and 10 kills, respectively. Junior Allie Gardner and freshman Courtney Keefe paced the Braves with 12 digs.

Bradley dropped to 7-8 on the season and 1-5 in conference action.

“It is what it is, we are not there yet,” Maurer said. “A thing we focus on is playing our game, and being disciplined. We aren’t taking care of the things we can take care of.”

Last Friday, Bradley fell in four sets against Missouri State 25-21, 25-27, 25-18 and 25-15.

Senior Annie Cave topped the Braves with 12 kills, followed by Angelos with 10. Senior Rachelle Dejean and freshman Madison Kamp tied with a team-leading 10 digs, while Kamp added 42 assists.

Bradley is on the road to face No. 12 Northern Iowa tonight. The Panthers are 16-1 overall and 6-0 in conference play.

Northern Iowa holds an 11-match winning streak against Bradley and a 50-9 advantage in the all-time series. The Braves haven’t won a match on the road against the Panthers since 1984.

“We understand that it’s a process, and it’s a journey,” Maurer said. “We are fighting so hard to change and recognizing that we have changed, but you don’t go from the bottom to the top automatically. You have to celebrate the small victories and look to improve every week.”