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Women’s volleyball splits back-to-back against Valparaiso, Loyola

Members of the Braves volleyball team celebrate after a point against Valparaiso. Photo courtesy of Josh Schwam/Bradley Athletics

Before their matchup with I-74 rival Illinois State on Monday, The Bradley women’s volleyball team split a pair of games against Valparaiso and Loyola to kick off a five-game homestand at Renaissance Coliseum last weekend. On Oct. 15, the Braves found themselves back at the .500 mark by securing their ninth win of the season against Missouri Valley Conference rivals Valparaiso in four sets. 

Bradley’s winning ways did not translate into its Oct. 16 matchup with Loyola, ultimately falling in five sets. 

Against Valparaiso, the Braves took a commanding lead by winning the first two sets 25-21 and 25-19. With their backs against the wall, Valparaiso was able to cut the deficit with a 25-19 third set victory. However, Bradley promptly ceased all hopes of a Beacons comeback with their 26-24 win in the fourth set, clinching second place in the MVC for the night.

Junior Karagan Coggin logged 14 kills and six blocks in the winning effort and fellow junior Serena Sparks led the Braves with 23 digs. Senior Kora Kauling impressed with a game-high 42 assists while also recording two aces and two blocks. 

Just as they had done against Valparaiso, Bradley won the first set against Loyola the following night by a score of 25-21. Unlike their previous match, the Braves’ fast start was brought to a halt, as the Ramblers took the next two sets 25-19 and 28-26. With a 25-19 fourth set win, the Braves set the stage for a dramatic fifth set with Loyola but ultimately fell 15-11 in the winner-take-all frame. 

For the second straight night, Kauling led all players with 34 assists and Sparks had a team-high 22 digs. Despite a game-high 19 kills from Braves senior Hannah Thompson, Loyola recorded 70 team kills versus Bradley’s 64 in the Ramblers win. 

After suffering a five-set loss against Illinois State on Oct. 18, the Braves are set to take on Drake on Oct. 22 and Northern Iowa on Oct. 23 at Renaissance Coliseum in an attempt to go over .500 for the homestand.

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