UE volleyball stays unbeaten at home as Aces sweep Illinois St.
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - In another efficient all-around performance, the University of Evansville volleyball team defeated Illinois State by a 3-0 final on Saturday night at Meeks Family Fieldhouse.
With the victory, the Purple Aces (12-4, 2-3 MVC) earned their fifth-ever triumph over the Redbirds (7-11, 3-3 MVC). The win also marked the first time UE has earned consecutive 3-0 shutouts over Missouri Valley Conference opponents since October of 2010. On Oct. 9-10 of that season, the Aces earned home shutouts over Indiana State and Illinois State. Head coach Fernando Morales was proud of the effort from his team and the way they bounced back from adversity.
“It was a great weekend. The team came together after a rough start to conference and the situation we went through last weekend,” he said. “We know how teams do not like to play at Meeks Family Fieldhouse and we want to take full advantage of that!”
A balanced offensive attack saw Melanie Feliciano record a match-high 18 kills with Alondra Vazquez and Giulia Cardona adding 13 apiece. Vazquez chipped in 13 digs while Cardona added three service aces. The freshman totaled eight aces in two weekend matches. Taya Haffner registered 42 assists. The Redbirds were led by Aliyah Moore’s 12-kill effort.
Set 1 – UE 25, Illinois State 20
Evansville set the tone early, picking up the first three points of the night before going up 9-3. Vazquez had two kills in the opening three points while Madisyn Steele added two of her own in the early stretch. Cardona capped off the stretch with an ace and kill. Illinois State inched their way back, cutting the deficit to one (12-11). With the Aces in front by a 15-13 tally, Feliciano picked up a pair of kills that sent her team on a 5-1 run. From there, the Aces took a 25-20 win on their way to a 1-0 match lead.
Set 2 – UE 25, Illinois State 22
It was the Redbirds who had the early momentum, jumping out to a 6-3 lead. Evansville was unphased, quickly fighting back to tie it at 8-8 on a Vazquez kill before taking the lead at 10-9 on an ISU error. A hard-fought set on both sides featured 10 tie scores, including a 20-20 tally. With the set coming down to the wire, it was Feliciano who put her team in front for good. After her 10th kill of the night gave the Aces a 21-20 edge, a Redbird error pushed the lead to two. From there, it was the Aces taking a 2-0 lead on the strength of a 25-22 victory in the set.
Set 3 – UE 25, Illinois State 20
Another back-and-forth contest ensued in the third frame, leading to a 9-9 score. Vazquez picked up a kill before Laura Ruiz notched an ace that put the Aces up 12-9. Following an ISU time out, Evansville added two more points to pad its lead at 14-9. Illinois State continued its relentless fight, cutting the gap to 18-17 on a kill by Aliyah Moore. Feliciano countered on the other end, earning her 18th kill of the evening before another Cardona ace put Evansville up 20-17. The Redbirds were unable to overcome the deficit as the Aces clinched the match with a 25-20 decision in the set.
Next up for UE is a home match versus Missouri State on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m.
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