Oct. 4, 2009
PEORIA, Ill. - Bradley volleyball pulled out a nail-biter Sunday with a five-set victory over Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
The Braves defeated SIUE 22-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-23, 16-14. With all five sets finishing with a winning margin of two or three points, SIUE Coach Todd Gober said won't have too much time to dwell as the Cougars return home for a matchup Monday evening against Western Illinois.
The first serve is set for 7 p.m. at the SIUE Student Fitness Center.
On Sunday, SIUE played its most efficient game of the season. The Cougars finished the match with a .231 hitting percentage. Jessica Hemann led the Cougars with a .357 hitting percentage and tied for the team lead with Sydney Winslow and Karie Downing in kills with 13.
Two other SIUE players finished with double figures in kills. Noelle Franke tallied a season-high 11 while Brittni Birkey added 10. Birkey and Hemann also tied for the team lead in blocks with four each.
"We played very well. It was one of our best matches of the season," said Gober. "We played very good, solid volleyball."
Gober said he has seen a noticeable improvement with the team over the last handful of matches. He said the team is on the verge of becoming a strong volleyball team but needs to do more of the "little things" in the match.
"Learning how to finish comes with experience," said Gober.
Bradley, which finished with 67 kills, six service aces and 9.5 blocks, countered the Cougars with 17 kills each from Amy Reichel and Madelyn Ervin. The Braves had to battle back from down two sets to one only to edge the Cougars in the decisive fifth set.
Bradley improved to 9-10 overall while the Cougars fell to 1-16.