NORMAL, Ill. - The Drake volleyball team was swept by Illinois State, 3-0, Saturday night in a Missouri Valley Conference match. The Redbirds won 25-18, 25-18 and 25-20 to improve to 11-8 overall and 5-4 in the MVC. The loss drops Drake to 3-16 overall and 2-7 in the MVC.
Senior Bentley Mancini (Burnsville, Minn.) led the Bulldogs offensive attack with 12 kills. Jadranka Tramosljanin (Ruma, Serbia) and Amanda Platte (Mount Vernon, Iowa) each finished with seven kills while Platte added four block assists. Sarah Madden (Van Meter, Iowa) had 20 digs and has now recorded 20 or more digs in five-straight matches. Halli Meyer (Bettendorf, Iowa) dished out 15 assists.
"We had some moments tonight, but they swung better than us and were able to string together three and four-point runs," head coach Tony Sunga said. "We needed to push back when they went on those runs and put together our own runs tonight to have a chance. But they are a good team and played well after a tough loss last night."
The Redbirds won the opening set, 25-18, behind 12 team kills and five service aces. ISU jumped out to an early 13-6 lead and forced Drake to take a timeout. A kill by Tramosljanin cut the lead to 21-16, but the Bulldogs rally attempt fell short as the Redbirds scored four of the final six points of the set.
Illinois State took early control of set two and held a 17-10 lead after a kill by Emily Schneider. The Bulldogs trailed, 23-18, after a block by Meyer and Cassie Effken (Lincoln, Neb.), but a kill by Ashley Rosch and an attack error by Mancini gave the Redbirds the set, 25-18. Drake had 12 kills with just three attack errors and ISU had 15 kills and four attack errors.
A kill by Mancini gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the night at 3-2 in the third set. Illinois State took a 14-9 lead with a service ace by Rosch and forced Drake to take a timeout. The Bulldogs trailed, 18-15, after a service error, but couldn't get any closer as the Redbirds closed out the match with a 25-20 win.
"We were able to put together some good runs there in the final set, but it was too late to overcome," Sunga said. "We just couldn't string together consistent play and we struggled with our passing. Every team lives and dies by their passing and we have to do a better job of that."
Effken finished with five block assists and the Bulldogs recorded 12 block assists as a team.
will have a quick turnaround for its next match. The Bulldogs will travel to
Fargo, N.D., over the fall break for a rematch against North Dakota State on
Monday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. The Bison knocked off the Bulldogs, 3-1, earlier this
season at the InnTowner Invitational. The all-time series between Drake and North Dakota State is 2-2-1.
"We are looking to battle against NDSU," Sunga said. "Neither of us are the same since our first match. We have a better mentality and more experience. Monday night we have a great opportunity to turn around and go into the second half of the conference schedule really playing well."
Drake will return to MVC play when it hosts the Creighton Bluejays, Saturday, Oct. 20. The game is the annual Dig Pink Match and first serve is set for 7 p.m. at the Knapp Center.