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Bradley gets back to winning ways in Southern Indiana Tournament

Jasmine Green spikes the ball. Photo Courtesy of Bradley Athletics

Bradley volleyball made the trip to Evansville, Indiana last weekend, not to take on an in-conference foe, but to compete in the Southern Indiana Tournament. 

The Braves faced Jacksonville State, Arkansas Pine-Bluff and new Division I opponent Southern Indiana, sweeping all three teams. 

Bradley beat Jacksonville State and Arkansas Pine-Bluff 3-0 without allowing more than 20 points in a set against either team. When it came to the third game against Southern Indiana, Bradley traded sets with the tournament hosts before ultimately winning the fifth and final set 18-16. 

With Southern Indiana becoming a new Division I team and transitioning from the D-II level, head coach Alicia Williams said it was an honor for them to be able to host a tournament and be able to share their atmosphere with other schools.

“Southern Indiana had a beautiful facility and the fan base was really great,” Williams said. “They seamlessly transitioned, in my opinion.”

The tournament presented an opportunity for the Braves to bounce back after they went 1-2 at the Chippewa Invitational the weekend prior. They followed that up with three straight wins where, although the opponents’ records didn’t light it up, they were more athletic and had different sizes than other teams Bradley has played.

“This tournament showed us some different styles that we hadn’t seen yet this year,” Williams said. “We competed against undersized but very athletic players. We have been playing against some taller competition so timing was essential within our defensive block.”

As a whole, Bradley played a more sound game defensively, especially with senior outside hitter Doga Topcicek returning from injury. Topcicek finished the tournament playing five sets and recording 17 kills in total.

“I felt like we were playing better defense this past weekend but we are still needing to terminate at a higher level,” Williams said. “When we can get Doga healthy, we feel like we can terminate at a higher efficiency. Our passing struggled a bit this weekend as well but I’m confident we are a good passing team and will bounce back with that.”

While Topcicek is still recovering, Williams thinks she is playing well despite being a bit banged up, as she still put up the numbers in Indiana. 

“When Doga is healthy, we can put the ball down more. She is dynamic and has the IQ of a senior,” Williams said.

The tournament was no doubt a successful one for Bradley, as they were able to  follow the formula that has been the key to their 3-0 record.

“The game plan heading into the tournament was to stay aggressive and do the simple things well,” Williams said. “I think we executed that really well, even during some stressful moments.”

The Braves are already underway at the Northern Colorado Classic, which runs from Sept. 14 to 16.

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