Missouri Valley Conference Tournament seeding is at stake for the Bradley volleyball team this weekend as the Braves close out the regular season at home against Evansville and Indiana State.
With it being senior weekend, the matches will carry a special significance for seniors setter Hannah Angeli and middle blocker Maggie Revell.
Angeli and Revell have both taken unconventional paths to this point in their careers. Both entered the Bradley program as transfers in 2017 — Revell after stints at Sam Houston State and Iowa, and Angeli after a season at Nebraska-Omaha. The two have similar thoughts on the coming weekend, which has yet to sink in.
“It actually hasn’t really hit me yet, that these are our last games at home,” Revell said. “But I’m really excited. Both of our families are coming, both of us are really good friends and we’re really tight with this team. It’s going to be really special.”
“We’re excited,” Angeli added. “The girls seem to be excited, they seem to be doing a lot for us which is nice of them. We’re really tight with them.”
Angeli and Revell’s Bradley careers have coincided with a turnaround for the program. From 2014-2016, the three seasons prior to the duo’s arrival, Bradley totaled a record of 15-72. The tide began to turn in 2017 when the Braves finished 10-22, and last season the Braves made a charge to the postseason.
The 24-win campaign — and a Bradley berth in the MVC Tournament for the first time since 2013 — was keyed by strong efforts from Angeli and Revell. Revell hit 33.6 percent in 23 matches, while Angeli’s 10.26 assists per set were the fifth-most of any player in the conference.
“When we got here, Bradley volleyball wasn’t as successful as it is now,” Revell said. “We were a part of the building of this program, so I think that’s going to make it even more special. We literally got emotional talking about it a year ago … it’s been an extremely emotional journey, but it’s been worth it.”
Both Angeli and Revell have been impact players for the Braves this season as well. Revell was named to the all-tournament team at the CEFCU Classic in September, and Angeli is ranked second on the team with 410 assists despite missing 10 matches due to a knee injury.
“I think for them, knowing that they’ve accomplished qualifying for the conference tournament is keeping them on a high note,” head coach Carol Price-Torok said. “It’s the last home game, but it’s not over. I think it’ll be emotional … families will be here and those [emotions] will be high, but our work is not done yet.”
Senior festivities aside, the coming weekend carries big implications for the Braves as they enter postseason play. Bradley currently sits in fourth in the conference.
Though Bradley has already locked up a berth in the MVC Tournament, its seeding has yet to be determined. Entering the weekend, the Braves (9-7) trail Illinois State (10-6) by a match and have a two-match gap over Evansville (7-9) and Valparaiso (7-9).
Bradley and Illinois State both host Evansville and Indiana State this weekend. The Braves aren’t taking either match lightly, even with Indiana State’s elimination from tournament contention entering Saturday’s season finale.
“They don’t have anything to lose, so they’re a dangerous team to play,” Price-Torok said of Saturday’s matchup against Indiana State. “Win or lose, their season is done Saturday, so those seniors on that team are going to go out with a bang. They’re going to give us all we can handle.”
Bradley hosts Evansville tonight at 6, and Indiana State in tomorrow’s regular-season finale at 5 p.m.