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While we were gone: what Braves fans missed over break

Bradley adds to its Athletics Hall of Fame with four inductions

Bradley added three individuals and one team to its Athletics Hall of Fame during halftime of the men’s basketball game against Creighton on Jan. 10.
The 2008-09 class included men’s basketball player Adebayo Akinkunle, women’s cross country and track runner Deb Knieja-Ognar and volleyball player Jenny Pavlas.
The 1987-88 men’s basketball team was also inducted.
Akinkunle is a former Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year and sits second in career blocks at Bradley with 154.
The former team captain led the Braves to three postseason appearances, including an NCAA Tournament in 1986.
Bradley found its first ever All-MVC runner in Knieja-Ognar.
Knieja-Ognar graduated Bradley with school records in each event she competed in and is the fourth fastest runner in the 800 and 3,000-meter runs, and fifth in the 1,500 meter run.
The Bradley volleyball team was also represented in the Hall of Fame class.
Pavlas set the school record for kills in 1995 and 1997 and still holds three of Bradley’s top six single season kill totals. Pavlas contributed all around, and currently sits third on the school’s all-time digs list with 809.
The 1987-88 men’s basketball team could go down in history as one of the best ever.
After taking the MVC’s regular season and postseason championships, the team finished with a 26-5 record and earned a berth into the NCAA Tournament.

Volleyball lands four new recruits in Burdette’s first class

The volleyball team signed four recruits following coach Sean Burdette’s first year on the Hilltop.
The team added a setter, a blocker and two outside hitters to make up the volleyball team’s 2009 recruiting class.
Setter Skylar Lesan is one of the two all-state performers in the class. Receiving the honor twice, the Iowa native also found success in club play.
Lesan led her Iowa club team to the junior Olympic National Championships for the last three seasons.
Six-foot-3 middle blocker Jessica McNellis has shown she puts in the work to improve her game.
She was twice named Downers Grove South’s Most Improved Player of the Year and she led her team to two regional championships.
The team’s new outside hitters will be Alise Tupuritis and Madelyn Ervin.
Tupuritis is the second all-state recruit in the class. She left Maine West High School as the career kills leader and was a unanimous Player of the Year of the Central Suburban North Conference.
Ervin led her Ohio high school team to a 23-4 record this season and a state regional runner-up finish. She is an athletic player with the ability to play all the front row positions, according to coach Sean Burdette.