Nov. 14, 2013
PEORIA, Ill. -- Missouri State won the first two sets at Bradley Thursday and overcame a BU match point in the fifth set to claim a 3-2 (25-23, 25-19, 19-25, 23-25, 16-14) victory over the Braves at Renaissance Coliseum.
The Bears improved to 20-9 overall and 11-5 in Missouri Valley Conference matches with their seventh consecutive win, while Bradley is 12-12 and 6-9 in league play. Missouri State has now won at least 20 matches in 14 of the last 15 seasons.
Amber Doolittle hammered a season-high 16 kills on .469 hitting and Ashley Mason recorded a career-high 31 digs to help the Bears prevail in a match that was tied 92-92 in total points after the fourth set and 106-106 before the Bears tallied the final two scores.
Doolittle’s solo block marked a fourth consecutive Bradley error and handed the Bears an 8-4 lead midway through the fifth set, and another BU error made it 10-5 before the home team made things interesting. The Braves composed themselves for a 6-0 run and 11-10 lead before an Olivia Brand kill knotted the score at 11-all. Brand fended off match point with another kill for 14-14, Christine McCartney put the Bears on top 15-14, and Bradley’s seventh attack error of the period gave MSU the win.
Missouri State’s 3-0 run late in the first set provided the largest lead for either club to that point as the Braves missed on three consecutive attacks, including one that was blocked by Carly Thomas and Doolittle, to give MSU a set point at 24-21. Bradley won the next two points before Brand’s sixth kill of the set gave the Bears the two-point win. Doolittle was involved in four of the Bears’ five blocks in the set, helping negate 18 BU kills.
Two 5-0 runs and a 4-0 spurt helped the Bears to an 18-10 lead in the second set. After Karen Rivatto’s kill made it 20-14 MSU, the Braves surged back to close to 20-18 and 21-19. Thomas answered with back-to-back kills to begin a 4-0 closing run for the 25-19 MSU win.
Bradley never trailed in the third set and hit .302 with just two attack errors in the period. After the Braves led 17-10, Missouri State could pull no closer than four points.
Missouri State did not trail in the fourth set until a Bradley block put the home team ahead 13-12. The Braves built their lead to 20-16 when the Bears regained the advantage with a 5-0 run that included a block and a kill from Doolittle before a Thomas kill made it 21-20. Another Doolittle kill made it 22-21, but Bradley scored the final two points to force a fifth set.
In addition to her 16 kills, Doolittle added a team-high seven blocks as the Bears finished with 12 stuffs. Brand added 10 kills, and Missouri State hit .196 compared to .215 for the Braves. Thomas had 52 assists, 15 digs and seven kills.
The Bears visit Loyola (12-16, 6-9) on Saturday at 3 p.m. The Ramblers lost 3-1 to Wichita State Thursday.