The Illinois State Redbird volleyball team (15-11, 8-6 MVC) swept the Drake Bulldogs (9-19, 3-12 MVC) for the second time this season, as the ‘Birds were in need for a win after a tough loss to Northern Iowa the day before.
The Redbirds got off to a tremendous start, having revenge in their eyes and vengeance in their hearts from last night's loss to Northern Iowa, as they start the game on a 10-3 run. Emmy Ogogor is getting several early hits, and many of the kills have been unreturnable by the Bulldogs.
Drake was able to make a four-point run happen, but a Redbird timeout stole the momentum and sent the ‘Birds on a five-point run. The Redbirds were able to finish off the first set with a kill from Taylor Lynch, beating Drake 25-13.
Throughout the first set, the ‘Birds as a team had a hitting percentage of .444, with 18 of the 25 points coming off kills.
A pretty clean set by the ‘Birds is something Leah Johnson will take any day of the week, and Sydney Holt realizes how important it is for her team to capitalize on error-free sets.
The ‘Birds got down early in the second set, but the saving grace for the Redbirds came in the form of Holt. The score at one point in the match was 8-6 in favor of the Bulldogs. The ‘Birds were able to take the lead and run with it, behind five kills by Holt, before Drake’s head coach called a timeout down 15-10.
Drake was able to regain a few of the points they had lost, trailing the ‘Birds by two points, 21-19, before Johnson called a timeout for her squad.
Drake pushed their way back into the set, tying the Redbirds and sending the set to overtime. The Redbirds had a chance to end the set 25-23 on a kill from Stef Jankiewicz, but she missed the in-mark by inches, resulting in the overtime period. Jankiewicz redeemed herself by setting up two flawless passes to Kaylee Martin and Monica Miller to finish the set, 26-24.
The third set found Drake fighting point-for-point with the ‘Birds, doing everything in their power to force two extra games. Several service errors have been the downside to ISU’s highly productive day, having four in total for the match has kept Drake in the last two sets.
Coach Johnson did not really think too much of the errors if her team is able to play the way they did against Drake.
“I hated them, but I don’t care. If we are hitting our zones, and we are putting pressure on them we are going to miss some serves if we are aggressive. When we miss because we are not competing and we -are playing tight, I don’t care for that,” Johnson said.
“I will take the aggressive-competitive misses, I don’t like tentative-tight, don’t want to fail misses. We are going to keep growing through it.”
15 ties were accounted for in the third set, with neither team able to take advantage. With the Redbirds jumping out to a 20-17 lead, the three-point edge was the largest lead of the set.
Drake was able to go on five-point run that included four points from ISU errors. The Bulldogs pushed their lead to 24-20 before the ‘Birds were able to rack up five consecutive points of their own, to take the lead in the match and force overtime, 25-24.
The ‘Birds had the one-point advantage on the Bulldogs five separate times in the overtime session, but service errors costed the Redbirds two different times. A kill from Sydney Holt and a block from Ogogor and Martin sent the arena into a frenzy as the ‘Birds sweep the Bulldogs for the second time this season, 31-29.