The Bradley volleyball team put on a dominating performance last weekend in their final preseason tournament look to carry their momentum into Missouri Valley Conference play. The Braves went 4-0 at the CEFCU Invitational, giving them a 7-7 overall record and the tournament title.
Bradley opened the Invite in style, earning a three-set sweep over South Dakota State University. Against the Jackrabbits, the Braves were led by junior outside hitter Erica Haslag who collected 14 kills and three aces, along with sophomore middle blocker Kathryn Graf who finished with 10 kills.
Head coach Carol Price-Torok said she was pleased with the way her team played over the weekend, and how several key players continue to produce.
I think were playing some really good volleyball right now, Price-Torok said. We played well as a team and some individuals that consistently do their part between Erica, Kat and Yavi as well.
Along with Bradley picking up a three-set victory over the University of Connecticut, junior libero Yavianliz Rosado made history in the Braves second match. Rosado had the most digs in a three-set match in school history. The liberos 23 digs topped the previous mark of 22, which had been reached five times previously in school history.
According to Rosado, she could not have completed the feat without her teammates.
It was a real team effort this past weekend, Rosado said. I couldnt have broken the record or achieved what I did without my teammates or coaches.
The Braves made quick work of the University of MissouriKansas City in their third match with a 25-21, 25-21, 25-21 victory.
According to Price-Torok, bench play was key in their victory over the Kangaroos.
People coming in off the bench and giving us some sparks or stepping in for specific things that we needed in matches really set the tone for us for a successful weekend, Price-Torok said.
In their fourth and final match of the Invite, the Braves looked sluggish in the first set, falling 25-19 to Grand Canyon University. That was the only set Bradley lost in the invite as they overcame fatigue and went on to win the next three 25-22, 25-21, 25-23 to defeat the Antelopes and claim the CEFCU Invitational title.
The victory also evened Bradley’s record at 7-7, as the Braves matched their win total from the entire 2016 season.
Along with being named co-MVP of the Invite with Haslag, Rosado was also named the MVC Defensive Player of the Week.
Price-Torok said the preseason schedule prepared her players well and expects them to be able to carry their momentum into conference play.
When youre winning, you’re feeling confident in what youre doing both as an individual and as a team, Price-Torok said. Just staying the course of the preseason and playing really solid teams that are similar to teams that we are going to play in conference is really going to be beneficial as we kickoff conference play here this weekend.
Rosado echoed her coachs comments, and is eager to take on the MVC.
As a team, were really excited, and I think that this was a great way to end our preseason, Rosado said. I think were prepared and ready to get conference play going.
Bradley will take on Southern Illinois University in their MVC opener tonight at 7 p.m. at the Renaissance Coliseum.