Volleyball Falls In Five-Set Thriller To Bradley
DES MOINES, Iowa – The Drake University volleyball team battled Bradley University in a five-set thriller before the Braves pulled out the win by scores of 23-25, 25-17, 25-9, 18-25 and 15-13 on Senior Night at the Knapp Center.
Drake (2-28, 0-18 MVC) senior Sarah Madden (Van Meter, Iowa), who was honored as the Bulldogs’ lone senior prior to the match, closed out her career with 40 digs, three service aces and two assists against Bradley (13-14, 7-11 MVC). Madden leaves Drake second all-time in career digs with 1,540. She finished this season with a team-leading 516 digs and a 5.16 digs per set average. Her per set average ranks second in the Missouri Valley Conference.
“It’s so real right now that tonight was my last match,” said Madden. “It’s very honoring and humbling to hear all the great things my teammates had to say about me after the match. It’s a great program, I love Drake and I get to walk out of here with best friends for life with my teammates.”
Junior Amanda Platte (Mount Vernon, Iowa) paced Drake’s offensive attack with a 10 kills and added two digs, one assist and one block. Sophomore Rebecca Brown (Bentonville, Ark.) closed out a strong season at the setter position as she finished with a career-high 38 assists and added nine digs, two service aces, and two blocks. Freshmen Makena Schoene (Seattle, Wash.) and Tegan LaBerge (Maple Grove, Minn.) each had nine kills to set their new career-highs.
With the win and Loyola’s loss at UNI, the Braves advance to their first MVC tournament since the 2005 campaign. Bradley finished in a tie for sixth-place with league newcomer Loyola, but earned the tournament's final spot over the Ramblers due to the tie-breaking procedures. Bradley will be the sixth seed next week in Wichita, Kan.
Drake finally broke through for its first set win in MVC play when they rallied from a 23-23 deficit to capture the opening set at 25-23.
Bradley bounced back by taking the next two sets by scores of 25-17 and 25-9, respectively. However, the Bulldogs fought back with a resounding 25-18 fourth set victory to force a deciding fifth frame.
The Braves quickly scored the first two points in the set, but Drake responded to take a 5-3 lead and extended its advantage to 10-8 after a service ace by freshman Samantha Meyers (Grundy Center, Iowa). This time Bradley answered to tie the set at 11-11, which forced the Bulldogs to call their first timeout. LaBerge blasted a kill out of the timeout to take a 12-11 lead, but the Braves answered with two straight points to go ahead 13-11 as Drake had to call its final timeout. The Bulldogs trimmed the deficit to 13-12 after a service error by the Braves, but Bradley smashed consecutive kills to close the set and take the match at 15-13.
“All the girls kept saying the whole match we are playing for you, this is for you,” Madden said. “It really hit me that it was real. It’s tough we came up just short, but I’m always going to have great memories with all of the girls. We will continue to be best friends.”