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Redbirds Top Flames to Make it Two in a Row

Written by on September 4, 2021

Image is courtesy of goredbirds.com

NORMAL, Ill.- The Illinois State Volleyball team won their second consecutive game Saturday afternoon after taking down the University of Illinois Chicago three sets to one.

The Redbirds hosted the Flames in their second match of the Red and White invitational. This was a close contest that saw neither team wanting to back down.

The Redbirds took game one in a back-and-forth matchup that went into extra points. Besides letting the Flames go on a six to zero scoring run late, the Redbirds got back into and after being on set point five times the Redbirds finally won the set 29-27.

Set two was another close one that saw the Redbirds jump out to an early lead, but it was the Flames who made the come back and ended a Redbird rally to take set two and even it up at one set a piece.

The Redbirds came from behind after trailing 15-12 to take set three 25-19 behind Freshman Aliyah Moore who had five kills and was seemingly all over the court.

“I think I’ve learned along the way during all the sets with blocking but overall, it’s just my teammates that make me better.” Moore said.

The fourth and final set saw Redbird star Tamara Otene come alive as she recorded 10 kills and set her career high in kills at 21. Despite having a 23-21 lead, the Flames were unable to keep the match going as the Redbirds came from behind and went back and forth, eventually winning the set 29-27.

“We have so much diversity which allows us to use everyone’s strengths,” said ISU head coach Leah Johnson. “She [Otene] just keeps getting better and I think Aliyah is a good compliment to her as well.”

Five Redbirds finished with 10 or more kills as Otene had 21, Moore had 18, Sarah Kushner had 12 and Kaitlyn Prondzinski and Nicole Lund each had 11. Katelyn Lefler led the team with an astounding 56 assists.

“I like are distribution, everyone had double digit kills except our setter which is expected. I was really pleased with our offense.” Johnson said.

The Redbirds take on Marquette tomorrow at 1 p.m. in the final match of the 2021 Red and White Invitational.