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Volleyball eliminated from NIVC Tournament against Bradley

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Kallie Seimet saves the ball as it heads out of bounds

The Falcon volleyball team fell to the Bradley Braves on Thursday in the first round of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship tournament 3-2, eliminating the team from further competition.

“Bradley’s a very good team; we knew that going into this match,” Women’s Volleyball Head Coach Danijela Tomic said. “Their two outsides are very good, and we knew that we would need to contain them to have a chance to win, and we didn’t do that.”

The match started out with Bradley claiming the first set in a close one 26-24; however, senior middle blocker Madeline Brandewie was able to get 4 kills to lead the Falcons on offense.

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In the second set, however, the team started to turn things around as they earned a 25-21 win, with Brandewie again getting 4 kills to lead the team offensively. The team continued the positive momentum into the third set, with a 25-23 victory to put themselves ahead two games to one. Senior outside hitter Isabel Kovacic had a strong set in the third, leading the Falcons’ offense with 6 kills.

The fourth set saw Bradley tie the match up once again, this time with a 25-21 victory, with junior right side hitter Celena Kanagin leading the Falcons with 4 kills in the set. However, the set win by Bradley forced the match into a fifth set.

In the fifth, the teams swapped the lead back and forth in the beginning portion of the set; however, Bradley got on a 5-point run to take a 7-3 lead. They continued to maintain the advantage until a 4-point rally to close the gap to within 1, followed by a 2-point run after a Bradley point to tie the set up at 13-13. However, those would be the last points the Falcons would get as Bradley grabbed the last 2 points on a kill and a service ace to claim the set and win the match 3-2 to move on to the second round of the tournament. Junior outside hitter Jessi Holly earned 4 kills in the set to lead the Falcons’ offense.

“The match was very close,” Tomic said. “Our team fought. I thought the difference was that their outsides just did their job, they scored for them and we just couldn’t stop them. … They got us out of system; they had a couple of really good servers that served from deep, and we struggled serve-receiving. That’s how we lost the fourth set. They got on a run because we couldn’t serve-receive.”

Kovacic got 14 total kills on the match to lead the team overall.

“She played like a senior,” Tomic said of Kovacic. “She did really well offensively. She played like it mattered and like it might be her last match. I’m very proud of her. Her, Maddie (Brandewie) and Kallie (Seimet), our three seniors who were on the court, they led the team. We needed a couple more players to step up and get them a little bit more help, but that didn’t happen.”

The team will next play in the 2019 season starting mid-August.

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