The Bradley volleyball team put up a 1-1 record last weekend to close out a four-game road swing. The Braves played the league-leading Missouri State Bears Friday, losing in five sets, but redeemed themselves Saturday with a five-set victory over Southern Illinois.
Bradley dropped the first set to the Bears but rallied to take the next two. The Braves struggled to close the match out though as Missouri State forced a fifth set. In the final set the Braves once again had opportunities to win the match, but could not capitalize on three set points and fell 19-17.
On Saturday, Bradley travelled to Carbondale to play Southern Illinois in a matchup of two teams near the bottom of the Missouri Valley Conference standings. The Braves won the first set and then alternated set victories with the Salukis to win in five.
Head coach Carol Price-Torok said she was pleased with the team for splitting in two tough conference matchups.
It was a great weekend for the girls confidence-wise and to see them executing on the game plan, Price-Torok said. They did a really good job of just staying focused on the task at hand.
Senior Erica Haslag led the Braves with 53 kills on the weekend, with a career-high 30 kills on Friday.
It is no secret [Haslag] is one of our arms, Price-Torok said. Her doing that, with everyone in our conference knowing she is one of our top players, says a lot to how hard she works and how bad she wants to produce for the team.
According to Price-Torok, another essential component of the Braves success is sophomore setter Hannah Angeli.
[Angeli] plays a big part. She is our only setter and she has to distribute the ball, but we are asking her to dig and get it done defensively as well, Price-Torok said. It is nice to see she can compartmentalize the defense and the offense, and do both parts well.
Angeli, who turned in her 17th and 18th double-double over the weekend, finished with 105 assists, 33 digs and 10 kills on the weekend.
I dont really pay attention to the stats; I just go out there and play, Angeli said. The assists are easy with the hitters putting down balls, but it is nice to realize my defense is actually making an impact.
With the help of Angeli, Haslag will lead the team the remainder of the season, according to Price-Torok.
We will be looking to her and Erica to continue to step up and be our court leaders in the second half of the conference season, Price-Torok said.
The Braves have a tough task up next hosting Drake and the University of Northern Iowa, two teams that swept them earlier in the season. According to Angeli, the Braves need to take one game at a time to be successful this weekend.
We are just focusing on Drake this week and will focus on UNI on Saturday in practice, Angeli said. We are really cracking down on game plan as a team and [working] on implementing it in practice.
The Braves return to Peoria for a match tonight against Drake at 7 p.m. at Renaissance Coliseum. They will finish the weekend with a match against No. 25 Northern Iowa Sunday at 12 p.m.