CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Bradley volleyball team kept its chances for the final spot in next week's State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament alive with a 25-19, 27-29, 25-21, 25-14 victory at Southern Illinois Friday.
The Braves (12-15 overall, 5-14 MVC) picked up their first road win of the season and moved within a game of sixth-place Indiana State, who lost a three-set match to Missouri State Friday, for the sixth and final spot in the upcoming MVC Tournament in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Bradley has won three consecutive matches heading into the final regular-season match Saturday at Evansville. The three-match win streak is the first since 2009 and BU has won three straight MVC matches for the first time since opening the 2005 Valley schedule with a 6-0 record.
Sophomore Amy Angelos (Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan) hit .395 and collected a season-best 19 kills and five blocks to pace the Braves. Freshman Courtney Keefe (Lemont, Ill./Lemont) matched her season high with 16 kills, while senior Annie Cave (Easton, Ill./Illini Central) added 12 kills and attacked at a .455 clip.
BU hit .359 in the first set, but needed a late push to close out the frame. With Bradley leading 21-18, freshman Madison Kamp (Orland Park, Ill./Chicago Christian) had a kill and the Braves held set point after a kill by Cave and SIU attack error. The Salukis fought off one set point, before senior Megan Schmidt (Bloomington, Ill./Central Catholic) closed out a 25-19 BU win with a kill.
The second set featured three lead changes and 12 ties, but Southern Illinois (9-17 overall, 3-14 MVC) pulled even in the match with a 29-27 win. Bradley fought back from down 24-20 to knot things up at 24-24. The Braves withstood three more set points before a BU service error and SIU block gave the set to the Salukis.
Bradley needed another late push in the third set, despite hitting a blistering .419 in the frame. An 8-2 BU run gave the Braves a 20-16 lead, but SIU pulled with a point at 22-21. Keefe found the floor with a kill and the duo of Kamp and Angelos combined for a block to give Bradley set point at 24-21. A Saluki attack error finished off a 25-21 BU win.
The Braves scored the first nine points of the fourth set and never looked back, opening the final set with a 13-1 run. Angelos had three kills to highlight the 9-0 spurt and collected six of her match-high 19 kills in the fourth set to help Bradley finish the match with a 25-14 victory.
Kamp finished with 48 assists and eight digs, while senior Rachelle Dejean (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) became the 26th player in Missouri Valley Conference history with 1,400 digs. Dejean finished with a match-high 17 digs.
Laura Thole had 14 kills and 10 digs to lead Southern Illinois. Alysia Mayes added 12 kills for the Salukis.
Bradley closes the regular season Saturday with a 7 p.m. match at Evansville. The Braves need a victory against the Purple Aces and an Indiana State home loss o Wichita State to have a chance to qualify for the State Farm MVC Tournament. BU can finish no lower than eighth, but could finish as high as a two-way tie with Indiana State or three-way tie with the Sycamores and Drake for sixth in the Valley standings.