Nov. 1, 2013
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Missouri State volleyball team served its highest ace total since the 2007 season Friday evening at Southern Illinois, acing the Salukis 12 times in a 25-23, 20-25, 25-21, 25-23 win at Davies Gym.
MSU’s 12 aces were also the team’s most since the NCAA shortened sets to 25 points prior to the 2008 season as the Bears moved to 16-9 overall and 7-5 in Missouri Valley Conference play, tying SIU (12-12, 7-5) for fourth place in the conference standings.
Freshman Simone House served five aces to go with 10 kills and a .474 hitting percentage, and the Bears hit .289 as a team with 60 total kills. Amber Doolittle led the Bears with 11 kills, many coming a crucial moments in the match, and seven players had at least five kills as Carly Thomas directed a balanced offense while dishing out 48 assists.
The Bears never trailed in the first set and withstood a late SIU charge for a 25-23 win. Doolittle had two kills during a 3-0 run that resulted in an 18-14 lead and added the clincher for 25-23 after the Salukis had spoiled three consecutive MSU set points. House added five kills in the first set.
The Salukis turned the tables in the second set and never trailed, leading by six points as early as 16-10. Missouri State closed to 20-17 late, but SIU’s .407 team hitting percentage proved too much to overcome.
Doolittle had a kill and a block during a 5-0 run in the third set that put the Bears ahead 13-9, and added another for 19-15 immediately following a kill and an ace from House. Doolittle’s 10th kill of the match gave the Bears a 21-16 lead, and SIU pulled no closer than three points from there as MSU hit .390 with 18 kills in the period.
House served her fourth and fifth aces of the night during a 5-0 run in the fourth set that put the Bears ahead 15-10, but the Salukis responded with a 7-1 run of their own to lead 17-16. The set was tied at 17, 18 and 19 before Missouri State used a trio of SIU errors and a Thomas ace to lead 23-19. The Salukis again came back, pulling within one before Olivia Brand’s kill earned set point at 24-22 and Kayln Vlasin closed the match with her career-high ninth kill.
Missouri State visits Evansville (8-15, 3-9) Saturday at 6 p.m.