Illinois State ventured out to Ohio to compete in the Buckeye Invitational this weekend, and after an unsuccessful outing yesterday, falling to both Ohio State and Miami University of Ohio, the Redbirds looked to bounce back against Dayton on Saturday.
The Redbirds seemed as if they were going to continue their streak of slow starts early in the first set, as the ’Birds fell behind a couple of points to begin play. Kaylee Martin set the tone though for the Redbirds, as she had three kills accounted for within the first six points.
A few errors by the ’Birds kept the Flyers at arm's length mid-way through the set, but momentum-killing kills by freshman Taylor Lynch, Nicole Lund and Sarah Kushner put an end to the first set, 25-19.
Martin continued the dominant attack for the Redbirds with a kill out of the gates of the second set, totaling her eighth of the match. The Flyers looked out of sync through the begins of the second set, trailing the ’Birds 11-6. After Dayton’s slow start, many expected set two to be wrapped up fairly quickly in the Redbirds’ favor, but out of nowhere, the Flyers went on a 12-1 run propelling them up 18-13.
Four errors by Martin were the determining factor in the collapse of the Redbirds. Kushner and Lynch continued to have an outstanding performance, bringing the ’Birds back within one in the closing stages of the set. Errors once again took the life out of the Redbirds in set two, as they fell 25-21.
The third set was a war early on, battling point by point until Stef Jankiewicz converted two service consecutively. Thus, giving the Redbirds the edge early on. The Flyers would not be slowed for too long, once again putting the game back to a standstill.
A kill by Martin started a momentous run for the ’Birds, and Jankiewicz continued such momentum with yet another service ace giving the ’Birds their largest lead of the third set 15-11, leading to a Dayton timeout. Several errors committed by the Flyers shut the door on any comeback attempt in the third set, as Sydney Holt finished the set with a kill 25-19.
The fourth set started quite like each other set, as neither team could gain an advantage early until a 3-0 run forced Dayton to take a timeout. Two kills and a service ace by Jamie Peterson and Mikayla Van Lanen sent the Flyers on a 6-0 run. Martin was able to compose her team with a kill and tied up the game at 15 points apiece.
The ’Birds started to crumble on the offense side of the ball, as they could not account for many points for several serves allowing Dayton to grow their lead to 22-18. Kills by Jankiewicz, Holt and Martin put the Redbirds one point behind the Flyers, but it was too little too late as a kill by Rachael Fara ended the Redirds’ hope of completing the comeback, losing 25-23.
Another tightly contested start to the fifth set allowed fans to sit on the edge of their seat, wondering which team was going to take the advantage and win this match. The ’Birds went on a 7-2 run allowing some breathing room going up 9-5 before a timeout by Dayton.
Peterson was able to jump-start the lackluster offense of Dayton in the fifth set, succeeding on three kills to push Dayton on a 5-0 run-up 12-11. Martin and Kushner delivered a kill apiece to tie up the score at 13-13. Peterson of the Flyers managed to put down another kill, and an attack error by Kushner brought the Redbirds just short of a win, falling to the Flyers 15-13, and 3-2 on the match.
This marks the fourth straight loss for the Redbirds, putting them at 7-5 on the season. With such a change in momentum for the season, the Redbirds might have to rethink their game plan heading into their next game.
ISU will be back in action against Missouri State 6 p.m. Friday at Redbird Arena.