First set comeback fuels Sycamore sweep

Volleyball talking over strategy during a timeout mid game against Evansville.

An aggressive first set comeback proved to be the spark for Indiana State volleyball on Friday evening, as the Trees swept in-state rival Evansville in the conference opener, 3-0 (26-24, 25-19, 25-13). The Sycamores (9-2, 1-0 Missouri Valley Conference) now boast an eight-game winning streak, the longest since ISU won 14-straight in the 1982 season when they finished 37-10. Their 9-2 start also marks the second-best start in ISU history, also behind the 1982 squad that began the year 13-1.

Outside of a tough first set, the Sycamore offense was firing on all cylinders. The Trees ended the evening with a 48-36 kill advantage over the Aces (10-2, 0-1 MVC) while also out-hitting the opposition .358-.211. Mallory Keller led the way with 12 kills on .375 hitting and Storm Suhre added nine kills while hitting .438.

Freshman Emma Kaelin and Chloe Mason split duties in the passing game, with Kaelin tallying 24 assists, two service aces and six digs. Mason contributed 15 assists, two aces and five digs.

Defensively, Melina Tedrow led the way with 17 digs (5.67 per set), helping ISU to a 51-39 advantage over UE who was led by Giula Cardona with 13. At the net ISU outblocked the Purple Aces, 6-3, thanks to four block assists from Madeline Williams, three from Storm Suhre and two from Kylie Newby.

The Sycamores will now have a week to prepare for their first Missouri Valley Conference road trip when they travel to Valparaiso and Loyola Chicago on Oct. 1 and 2.

Set One: 26-24, Indiana State

- Evansville began the set on an 8-2 run, and eventually led 18-12.

- The Sycamores fired off a 12-3 run to claim the lead, 22-21.

- Evansville responded by taking the game to set point at 24-22, but ISU used four-straight points to close the door and win the set.

- Suhre tallied five of her nine kills in the first set while Tedrow recorded eight digs.

- Evansville hit .351 to Indiana State's .263.

Set Two: 25-19, Indiana State

- It was back-and-forth early before Indiana State 5-1 run to take a 17-12 advantage midway through the set.

- Evansville hit just .125 for the set while the ISU offense awoke and hit .343 with 16 kills.

- Madeline Williams recorded three block assists to help the Trees retain control of the net.

Set Three: 25-13, Indiana State

- ISU raced out to a 14-4 lead before holding their largest advantage at 20-7.

- Keller and Gall combined for 11 kills while the Blue & White hit an impressive .485.

- UE once again hit below .200 at .156.

- The Sycamore defense remained strong with a 17-10 dig advantage in the frame.