Gone are the days at Illinois Central College as the Markin Family Student Recreation Center is now home to women’s volleyball.
The volleyball team will play half of its six remaining games on home territory.
“I think it’s going to be great being on campus,” coach Sean Burdette said. “[Since] it is back on campus, I think we will be able to have more student attendance. It is a smaller gymnasium than ICC, which I think we can fill very easily and hopefully become a very loud home venue for us.”
Northern Iowa will be the first team to test the Braves on the fresh courts in the Markin Center.
The team hopes the court will bring a change of pace for the Braves as they mustered one win in seven tries in conference play at ICC.
Burdette said he won’t miss playing at ICC.
“It certainly was a stepping stone to where we’re going with our program,” he said.
Evansville def. Bradley
25-13, 25-23, 25-22
Coming off its first conference win against Indiana State, Bradley hoped to build on its success and upset Evansville on the road.
The Purple Aces didn’t get the memo though, as they sailed to a three-set sweep.
The serving mistakes were uncharacteristic as Burdette said he felt the team has done well in serving so far this season.
“We actually had a bad serving weekend,” Burdette said. “We coupled that with some bad rotations of serve-receive.”
The Purple Aces opened the first set with a .436 attack percentage in their 25-13 victory.
Aiding the percentage was the absence of Bradley freshman Genevieve Dejean, who was missing in action because of a knee injury from practice.
“She is day-to-day right now,” Burdette said.
Bradley was toe-to-toe with Evansville as the Braves went up 9-8, but the Purple Aces went on to score 10 out of the next 12 points to pull away.
The Braves held a two-point lead late in the second set, but the Purple Aces rallied with a 5-1 spurt to put them ahead 23-21. Evansville’s Ginta Gabruseva closed the set with one of her match-high 12 kills.
With their backs against the wall in the third game, the Braves mustered a minute rally to close the gap to one point, 22-21. A pair of kills put Evansville up 24-21, and Bradley sophomore Emily Austin’s following kill would be the last the Braves scored in the match as they lost 25-22.
Southern Illinois def. Bradley 25-19, 25-22, 25-18
Service errors helped give Southern Illinois a three-game sweep Saturday.
“This was probably our worst weekend of serving we’ve had all year,” Burdette said.
In the opening game, Bradley trailed 20-18 before two attack errors by Bradley took the Saluki’s lead to five points.
Junior Amy Reichel pulled the team within four but two more errors by the Braves took the team out of contention.
In the middle of the second game, Bradley held a two-point lead but a five-point spurt by Southern Illinois swung the momentum to their side.
Another Braves service error aided Southern Illinois to its second game victory.
In the last set the Braves were dead even at 12 points a piece, but Southern Illinois made another rally scoring eight out of the next 10 points. The deficit was too much for Bradley to handle as its four-point spurt led by Reichel wasn’t enough to recover.
Southern Illinois claimed the game 25-18.
“We’ve all talked during the entire season that we have to all play well for us to win games and matches,” Burdette said. “We have a small margin of error for our team at this point.”