DES MOINES, Iowa – The Drake University volleyball team rallied from a 2-1 deficit to defeat Bradley, 3-2, Friday evening at the Knapp Center. Five Bulldogs recorded double figures in kills with senior Bentley Mancini(Burnsville, Minn.) leading the way with 18 to tie a career high.
Sophomore Amanda Platte (Mount Vernon, Iowa) and freshmen Cassie Effken (Lincoln, Neb.) and Katie Dulek (Lenexa, Kan.) also tallied career highs in kills with 14,16 and 11, respectively, to help the Bulldogs win 26-24, 24-26, 22-25, 25-22, 15-10.
Facing a 2-1 deficit, Drake (2-14, 1-5 MVC) started the fourth set energized and jumped out to a 6-3 lead on back-to-back kills from Platte. The Bulldogs held the lead until Bradley (6-11, 0-6 MVC) inched back and tied the game at 15-15 and neither team led by more than two points until the final point. With the set knotted at 21, Drake went on to score four of the set’s final five points including a pair of kills from Effken and the set winner from Jadranka Tramosljanin (Ruma, Serbia) to tie the match and force a fifth set.
Drake used a 6-1 run in decisive fifth set to pull away late before Bradley got within four points at 12-8. However, a quick kill from Dulek followed by a block from Effken and Mancini forced match point. Two points later, Effken ended the match with a kill on Halli Meyer's (Bettendorf, Iowa) 40th assist of the evening, a career high for the sophomore. The Bulldogs hit an impressive .455 in the final set and did not commit a single attack error to earn their first conference win of the season.
Drake opened the match with a 26-24 win thanks to three straight kills, two of them coming from Platte to end the set. The Bulldogs opened with a 5-1 lead before Bradley rallied back with a 10-4 run to make it 11-9. Drake answered with five straight points as the teams went back-and-forth until Drake took the set with the final rally.
The Bulldogs kept the momentum in the second set by rolling out to a 6-2 lead and not allowing Bradley to pull any closer than two points until a brief spurt made the score 16-15 in favor of Drake. Three-straight points, including a pair of kills from Tramosljanin, quickly rebuilt the Bulldogs’ lead at 19-15. However, Bradley scored 11 of the next 16 points to pull away for the 26-24 win to even the match heading into intermission.
The third set was another tightly contested set early as neither team led by more than two points until a pair of Drake attack errors gave Bradley a 13-9 lead that would build into a 20-13 lead. Undeterred, the Bulldogs went on a 7-2 run to nearly tie the match and staved off one match point before Bradley prevailed, 25-22.
As a team, the Bulldogs recorded 75 kills on 72 assists and had 13 blocks. Effken led that defensive effort with three solo blocks and five block assists.
The Bulldogs continue their homestand Saturday evening against Northern Iowa at the Knapp Center. First serve is set for 7 p.m.