PEORIA, Ill. -- The Bradley volleyball team returns to Renaissance Coliseum, opening a season-long, four-match home stand Friday against Southern Illinois (6 p.m.), before wrapping up the homecoming weekend Saturday with a 4 p.m. contest against Evansville.
The Braves (6-12 overall, 0-7 MVC) will play six of the next eight matches at home, starting with Friday's matchup against the Salukis (15-3 overall, 5-2 MVC). The 6 p.m. match will kick off BU's Cram the Coliseum night which will also include the Bradley men's and women's basketball teams' annual Red-White Scrimmage immediately following the contest.
Saturday's 4 p.m. tilt against Evansville (7-13 overall, 2-5 MVC) will precede the 6:30 p.m. homecoming soccer game against Evansville at Shea Stadium. Bradley students will be able to catch the free shuttle to the soccer game at Renaissance Coliseum following the volleyball match in addition to the shuttle's normal stop at the Michel Student Center.
Southern Illinois is fourth in the Valley standings with a 5-2 league record heading into Friday's contest. Evansville is seventh in the conference at 2-5 entering a Friday night match at league co-leading Northern Iowa.
The four-match home stand is the longest for Bradley since 2010 and BU is playing four consecutive home matches against Missouri Valley Conference foes for the first time since 2004. Bradley's last five home opponents have combined for a 64-37 (.634) record this fall through Oct. 7.
BradleyBraves.com will provide links to live stats and video streaming for both matches this weekend. The home stand also includes contests against Illinois State (Oct. 19) and Indiana State (Oct. 20).
Junior Lauren Zerante (Elmhurst, Ill./York) averaged 6.11 digs per set during Bradley's two-match Valley road swing last week, which included a career-best 31 digs in Friday's five-set match at Drake. Her 31 digs are tied for the sixth-best digs in a match in BU history and are the most by a Brave since 2008. Zerante, who has more digs this fall than she did her first two seasons combined, is 87 digs from the first 400-dig season by a Bradley player since 2008.
Fellow junior Amy Angelos (Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan) cracked BU's career top 25 in kills and enters the weekend tied with Cheryl Christiansen (1985-88) for 25th in school history with 700 kills. Angelos has led Bradley in kills in nine of 18 matches and is 10 kills from moving up two more spots on the kills chart into 23rd.
Last year, Angelos averaged 3.11 kills per set against Southern Illinois, helping the Braves sweep the Salukis, and collected 3.14 kills per set in the two matchups with Evansville.
Senior Madelyn Ervin (Lewis Center, Ohio/Olentangy) tallied a season-best 13 kills with no hitting errors Friday at Drake, marking the most kills by a BU player without an attack error since Emily Austin had 15 kills on 29 swings with no errors against Missouri State on Nov. 15, 2008. Ervin's 13 kills rank as her most kills in a match since her sophomore year.