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Redbirds Fall in Four Sets Sunday to End Winless Weekend

Written by on October 2, 2022

Image courtesy of Redbird Athletics

NORMAL, Ill. – Coming off a strong first set against the University of Illinois Chicago, the Illinois State volleyball team seemed to fizzle out, as they could not string together enough offense and fell in a regulation four sets.

“I think we came out really strong there in the first set,” said ISU Head Coach Allie Matters. “But I think UIC woke up a bit and kind of just changed their game plan and came back at us with a little bit more aggression.”

The Redbirds came out of the gates hot in this match going on a 6-0 run to open the scoring. Backed by Aida Shadewald’s seven kills, the Redbirds were able to take the opening set by the score of 25-17. However, this is where the fun stopped as UIC would go on to take the remaining three sets all in a convincing fashion, seeming to have one leg up on the birds down the stretch. Despite a comeback attempt in the third set, in which the redbirds brought the score to a 23-23 tie, they failed to convert and went down 23-25, and seemingly ran out of gas.

The Redbird offense was stopped in this match, with UIC topping ISU in kills in all of the last three sets.

“I think that’s been our biggest challenge…we are playing teams that have a lot of juniors and seniors,” said Matters.“For us to have [five] freshman out there on the floor…we’re competing so young, fresh, and still working on those connections.”

Injuries to the Redbirds have forced them to play more and more of their freshman players, making it hard for the team to get into a flow every week.

“I think our freshman are really high energy,” Matters said. “We are depending on them more than we originally planned. Every week, whether we win or lose, we’re taking away something from every match we play.”

The Redbirds will look to capitalize against the Bradley Braves on the road Tuesday, who are 0-4 in conference play. Both teams will look to get their seasons back on track.