Nov. 16, 2013
CHICAGO, Ill. -- Missouri State won its eighth consecutive volleyball match Saturday afternoon with a 3-1 (25-19, 25-17, 20-25, 25-18) victory at Loyola University Chicago. For the Bears (21-9, 12-5 Missouri Valley Conference), it’s the longest winning streak since an 8-0 start to the 2009 MVC season. Loyola fell to 12-17 and 6-10 in league play.
Missouri State hit .296 for the match, and .406 or better in the three sets the Bears won, with Kayla Walton’s season-high 17 kills (on .500 hitting) leading four Bears in double figures.
The first set was tied at each point to 8-8 before Olivia Brand hit a kill and two service aces to begin a 4-0 run for a 12-8 Missouri State lead. Loyola scored the next two points and the Bears countered with another 4-0 run to lead 16-10 on a Karen Rivatto kill. A Carly Thomas block made it 20-12 MSU, and the Ramblers got no closer than five points from there as the Bears hit .455 and blocked four LUC attacks in the set.
Amber Doolittle began the second set with four quick kills for a 7-4 lead, but Loyola answered with three blocks during a 5-0 spurt to pull ahead 9-7. The score swung back in MSU’s favor on an LUC attack error and Rivatto followed with a kill to cap a 4-0 run with the Bears up 13-11. Rivatto added two more kills in another 4-0 run for 18-13, and Brand hit back-to-back kills followed by one from Simone House to put MSU up 22-15. MSU hit .452 in the set and piled up 19 kills.
The Ramblers seized control of the third set with a 7-0 run to lead 15-9 midway through the period, and the Bears were unable to recover as they committed 10 attack errors in the set. Missouri State trailed by no fewer than four points for the remainder of the period after Loyola’s run.
Brand’s solo block put the Bears ahead 9-4 in the fourth set, and Walton’s 16th kill made it a 13-8 lead. Thomas paired up with Doolittle and Kaitlin Jaeger for blocks that gave MSU leads of 15-9 and 17-11, and a Loyola block pulled the home team to within three points before Rivatto’s kill made it 22-18. Thomas and Brand followed with kills before Thomas teamed up with Doolittle yet again for the winning block as MSU closed the set on a 4-0 run.
In addition to Walton’s 17 kills, the Bears got 13 from Brand, 11 from Doolittle and 10 from Rivatto. Thomas had a career-high six blocks to go with 53 assists. Ashley Mason led MSU with 12 digs.
Missouri State hosts first-place Wichita State (25-6, 14-3) in the regular-season finale on Friday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. in Hammons Student Center.