Volleyball loses in straight sets to MVC bests

After coming off a big sweep of conference newcomer Loyola, the Bradley volleyball team looked to make a statement in Missouri Valley Conference play on the road against two MVC powerhouses. Unfortunately, the Braves were swept in both of their matches this past weekend, losing at Wichita State (25-19, 25-15, 25-11) and at Missouri State (25-18, 25-16, 25-20).
Senior Amy Angelos led the team with 18 kills combined over the weekend matches, and senior Lauren Zerante led the Braves with 26 digs on the weekend double-header. Senior Alise Tupuritis said both teams the Braves played are two of the top teams in the MVC and that the Braves have nothing to be ashamed of in the way they played.
“I think we should feel very confident that we stayed in it with a team that went to the Sweet Sixteen a year ago [Wichita State],” Tupuritis said. “They have some very strong players, and we never quit throughout the match.”
Tupuritis said that in order to get better as a team and ultimately make the MVC tournament in November, the team needs to come together and play as one strong unit.
“We need everyone to continue doing their jobs and come together as a team,” Tupuritis said. “This is a team sport and we have been doing a fine job, but we just need to step it up a little more.”
Coach Jenny Maurer echoed the words of her senior captain that the team is in a very good position, but it is the small things that they need to fix in order to improve moving forward.
“We are in a very good place as a team,” Maurer said. “There were times when we rallied and played tough with both team, which not every MVC team can say.”
Maurer said that two 3-0 sweeps do not look good on paper, but felt her squad put up a strong fight against both teams.
“I don’t think the 3-0 scores can tell how competitive the matches were,” Maurer said. “Our team is in no position to start feeling sorry for ourselves moving forward.”
Looking ahead, Maurer said her team can bounce back and realizes that the two games this weekend are big for the team’s season.
“We have to pick back up and get ready to play these MVC teams the second time through,” Maurer said. We have two big matches this weekend at home, and we want to take care of them.”
The Braves play the next four out of seven games at the Renaissance Coliseum starting 7 p.m. Friday against Evansville and 7 p.m. Saturday against Southern Illinois.