Volleyball needs to spike aggression

r defensive specialist Abby Ihrke celebrates a point with her team against Eastern Illinois Aug. 26 at the Eastern Illinois Panther Classic. photo via Bradleybraves.com
r defensive specialist Abby Ihrke celebrates a point with her team against Eastern Illinois Aug. 26 at the Eastern Illinois Panther Classic.
photo via Bradleybraves.com

The Bradley volleyball team travelled to Muncie, Indiana last weekend to compete in the Ball State Tournament. The Braves finished 1-2 for the second straight weekend, and although its not the outcome they wanted, head coach Carol Price-Torok said she liked her teams attacking mindset.

It was nice to be super competitive, Price-Torok said. I felt we were really aggressive out of the get-go, finding ways to create points and win. Even on some of the sets that didnt go our way, we stayed aggressive. We just have to keep putting ourselves in those types of situations, and eventually theyll turn our way.

In the opening match of the tournament the Braves picked up a 25-20, 25-17, 25-19 sweep over Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne. The weekend matches were highlighted by the play of sophomore transfer Hannah Angeli.

Angeli paced the Braves throughout the tournament and was named scholar-athlete of the week for her efforts. The Nebraska-Omaha transfer said she chose Bradley not only for volleyball but for academics as well.

The main reason I was drawn to Bradley was the coaches, as well as the culture of the program, Angeli said. Another reason I came to Bradley was for the academics and health science program.

Price-Torok said Angeli is not only an asset to the team because of her playing ability, but through her leadership skills as well.

Shes a natural leader, Price-Torok said. I think when shes in a rhythm and feeling like shes playing well, the team is very confident. One thing thats going to be really huge for her and the team as we move forward is exuberating that confidence.

The setter posted double-doubles in the final two games of the tournament against Ball State University and Navy. Junior Erica Haslag was also a major factor, setting new career-highs of 28 kills and 24 digs against Navy.

Even with the impressive individual play from the duo, Bradley fell 3-1 in both matches.

Along with competing in the tournament, the Braves also opened a 10-match home stand, facing off against Chicago State University last Tuesday.

The Cougars spoiled Bradleys home opener as they defeated the Braves in five sets, 25-20, 25-23, 20-25, 16-25, 15-8.

Although still early in the season, the Braves have already shown the ability to battle back after getting off to a slow start. Price-Torok said she likes the grit her team has shown but wants them to be more aggressive at the beginning of matches.

We know what our strengths and abilities are, Price-Torok said. Part of it is reminding the team that its not over until its over, but we have to come out and be the aggressors earlier in the match so were not putting ourselves in situations where our backs are up against the wall.

The Bradley volleyball team will host the CEFCU Classic this weekend at Renaissance Coliseum. The Braves open tournament play at 11 a.m. against the University of Illinois at Chicago and will also face Murray State University at 6 p.m. on Friday.