PEORIA, Ill. -- The Bradley volleyball team returns to Renaissance Coliseum, facing league-leading Creighton (Friday) and Drake (Saturday) during the final home stand of the 2012 season. First serve for both contests will be 7 p.m.
Friday's matchup with Creighton will be Senior Day with Bradley seniors Madelyn Ervin (Lewis Center, Ohio/Olentagy) and Jessica McNellis (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South) recognized in a pre-match ceremony. Friday will also be Fan Appreciation Night, with tickets costing just $1.
In addition to the Fan Appreciation Night promotion, fans can receive free admission to both weekend contests. Friday's match is free to all fans who bring in two canned food items, while Saturday's match against Drake is free for all fans presenting a ticket stub from the Saturday afternoon men's basketball exhibition game against Wisconsin-Parkside (1 p.m.).
Bradley (8-16 overall, 2-11 MVC) has won two of its last three home matches, sweeping Evansville and Indiana State to move into ninth in the Missouri Valley Conference standings and the Braves look to avenge a pair of road losses to both Creighton and Drake in early October.
BradleyBraves.com will feature live stats for both tilts, along with a subscription video stream.
Creighton (20-3 overall, 11-1 MVC) has a half-game lead on preseason Valley favorite Northern Iowa in the league standings heading into the final three weeks of the regular season. The Bluejays bring an eight-match win streak to Renaissance Coliseum and are currently receiving 31 points in latest AVCA Coaches Poll to rank second in the others receiving votes.
Drake (4-19 overall, 3-19 MVC) edged Bradley in five sets in early October at the Knapp Center and the Bulldogs head into a Friday night match at Northern Iowa coming off a three-set home win against Evansville. Three of the last five meetings in Peoria between Bradley and Drake have gone to a deciding fifth set.
The home stand marks the final home contests for both McNellis and Ervin. McNellis has battled injuries throughout her career and has appeared in seven matches this fall, notching a season-best four kills in the sweep of East Carolina on Sept. 1.
Ervin is tied for 32nd in career kills at Bradley with 579 and has moved into second in the Missouri Valley Conference in aces per set after serving up a career-best five aces Saturday at Wichita State. Ervin's five aces were the most by a BU player in league play since Lindsay Stalzer had five aces against the Shockers on Nov. 14, 2003 and Ervin helped the Braves tally a season-best nine aces in the three-set contest.
Junior Lauren Zerante (Elmhurst, Ill./York) has pushed her season dig total to 418, giving her the most digs in a season by a Brave since Kaitlyn Comiskey had 475 digs in 2007 and Zerante's season total is 10th among Bradley season marks. She has recorded 20 or more digs 11 times this season and is averaging 4.54 digs per set.
Junior middle blocker Amy Angelos (Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan) is closing in on Bradley's top 20 in career kills, entering the weekend 22nd all-time with 767 kills. Angelos needs 26 kills to pass Nikki Pierzchala for 21st and is 48 kills outside of the top 20. Her 767 kills rank as the ninth highest career total for a Bradley player prior to their senior year and she has a chance to become just the seventh player in program history to reach 800 career kills as a junior.
Bradley concludes the 2012 season with three consecutive road matches, starting Friday, Nov. 9 at Evansville (7 p.m.).