Oct. 6, 2012
SPRINGFIELD-- For the second night in a row, the Missouri State volleyball team found itself in a nail-biter decided by two points in the fifth set, only Saturday it was the opposition coming away victorious as Illinois State took a 25-20, 25-19, 15-25, 23-25, 15-17 match from the Bears in Missouri Valley Conference action at Hammons Student Center.
Much like the 2011 meeting between the squads at Hammons, the Redbirds (10-7, 4-3 MVC) took the first two sets before Missouri State (10-9, 5-3) mounted a furious rally, with Olivia Brand doing her best to replicate her 22-kill performance from the 2011 match with 15 kills on .300 for the Bears Saturday, but it was not enough.
Missouri State ripped off a 6-1 run early in the fifth set and led 11-6 on Amber Doolittle’s solo block to near the finish line. The Redbirds scored three straight points before a Doolittle kill, then added three more for a 12-12 tie. It was the Bears’ turn from there with a pair of ISU errors giving Missouri State match point at 14-12. The Redbirds landed two kills for a 14-14 deadlock, Christine McCartney’s kill gave the Bears yet another match point chance at 15-14, but Illinois State closed with three points for steal the win.
The Bears sputtered to a .119 hitting percentage through two sets before hitting .429 to get untracked in a dominant third period. Then in the fourth, Illinois State scored the first three points and led all the way until sending an attack long at 14-13 as part of a 5-0 MSU run that ended with the Bears ahead 16-14. Missouri State rolled to a 22-16 lead before ISU made things interesting, fending off two set points when Kaitlin Jaeger’s kill gave the Bears the 25-23 win.
Jaeger hit .333 with a match-high 16 kills in what was nearly a statistical dead heat. ISU edged the Bears in kills (67-64), hitting percentage (.238-.220) and blocking (12-9.5), while MSU held a 74-69 lead in digs. The Redbirds scored 105 total points to MSU’s 104.
Missouri State continues its homestand Monday at 6 p.m. when Central Arkansas comes to town for a non-conference match. The Sugar Bears are 19-1 overall and lead the Southland Conference with a 7-1 record.