Redbirds Clinch Missouri State Sweep
Written by Jack Podlesnik on March 15, 2021
Image courtesy of goredbirds.com
NORMAL, Ill. – Monday night saw the Redbirds volleyball team complete a sweep of the Missouri State Bears. In the opening set, the Redbirds jumped out to an 11-7 lead thanks to a pair of errors by Missouri State’s Amelia Flynn and Brooklyn Cink. Later, up 16-10, ISU surrendered a 4-0 scoring run and it was a two point contest, 16-14. The teams proceeded to trade off scores, but ultimately a 3-0 run by Illinois State sealed a set one victory with a score of 25-21.
In the beginnings of set two, the Redbirds and Bears were tied at five. However, kills by Sydney Holt and Sarah Kushner, a service ace by Kaity Weimerskirch, and a bundle of Bears errors allowed ISU to outscore Missouri State 8-1 and take a 13-6 lead. Brief scoring runs by the visiting Bears were not enough to slow ISU down, and a service error by Missouri State’s Rylee Fay ended set two with ISU on top 25-17.
Illinois State had the opportunity to put away the Bears in a clean sweep, but Missouri State was determined to keep persisting. The third set was a true tug-of-war battle, with neither team allowing the other to gain much momentum. But locked up at 19-19, the Bears proceeded to go on a 4-0 scoring run, largely propelled by Amelia Flynn, who finished the night with 26 kills and 29 points. ISU was able to cut the Bears lead to three with a late kill by Sarah Kushner, but Brooklyn Cink iced set three away with a kill, giving Missouri State a 25-21 victory.
The Redbirds came out hot to start the fourth and final set, putting together a 5-0 scoring run after surrendering two points to start. After trailing 9-5, the Bears put together a run of their own, stringing together four points to tie the set. ISU and Missouri State traded off leads throughout the fourth set, but finished off the Bears with a 4-0 run to win 25-21, win the game 3-1, and clinch a sweep of their Missouri Valley Conference rival.
Sophomore outside hitter Sarah Kushner led the Redbirds in kills with 21. Kaylee Martin and Sydney Holt had 15 and 13 kills, respectively. ISU recorded 18 blocks, six of which were made by freshman middle blocker Nicole Lund. Missouri State’s top player of the night was Amelia Flynn. She recorded 26 kills, 29 points, and eight digs. Brooklyn Cink also hit double-digit kills on the night, tallying 11 of her own.
With the win, the Illinois State Redbirds volleyball team climbs to 9-5 overall, and 7-3 in the MVC. Meanwhile, the Bears have now lost four out of their last five contests, and drop to 12-5 on the season overall, with an 8-4 record in the conference.
The Redbirds will be staying at home again for their next series, as they prepare to take on the Evansville Purple Aces this Sunday at 4:00 p.m. Missouri State will be heading back to Springfield in preparation for the Bradley Braves. Their first matchup is also this Sunday, and will be played at 2:00 p.m.