PEORIA, Ill. -- After playing eight of nine matches away from home to open the season, the Bradley volleyball team returns to Renaissance Coliseum Friday and Saturday, hosting the CEFCU Classic. The tournament field includes three squads which advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year.
The CEFCU Classic gets underway Friday afternoon (4:30 p.m.) with defending Sun Belt West Division champ Arkansas State taking on Big West Conference power Long Beach State. Friday's action concludes with Bradley taking on three-time defending Missouri Valley Conference champion Northern Iowa at 7 p.m. in the Valley opener for both teams.
BradleyBraves.com will feature live stats and video streaming for all seven matches of the CEFCU Classic. Saturday will be a busy day at Renaissance Coliseum, beginning with an 11 a.m. match between Long Beach State and defending Mid-American Conference champion Northern Illinois in the first of five matches.
The 1 p.m. match features Northern Iowa and Arkansas State followed by Bradley and Northern Illinois at 3:30 p.m. Long Beach State and Northern Iowa take the court at 5:30 p.m. and Bradley concludes the tournament with an 8 p.m. match against Arkansas State.
While Friday's matchup with Northern Iowa will be the conference opener for the Braves, things will perhaps get a little more interesting when the BU faces off against Northern Illinois Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. Junior middle blocker Amy Angelos' twin sister Sarah is a middle blocker for the Huskies.
This will mark the second time Amy Angelos has played against her sister as a Brave after the two played against each other as freshman during the 2010 season and she expects much stronger efforts from both individuals in this weekend's matchup. In the 2010 contest the two combined for seven kills and four blocks in a three-set NIU victory.
"We are both much better athletes now, and better volleyball players," Amy Angelos said. "I'm excited to see how we are going to stack up against each other. She's (Sarah) having an amazing season so far with her team, so it will be an exciting game."
As for strategy, Angelos has given her fellow Braves a piece of advice.
"I keep telling my team to just act like they are playing me," Angelos said. "Our styles of play are very similar. We are both very quick and we both attack the ball as much as possible."
Anticipating a little bit of sibling competitiveness in the air, Angelos expects the game to be an exciting experience for both her and her sister's teams.
"Our teams get a rise out of it, our coaches and friends and there's a little bit of heckling that goes on," Angelos said. "It's definitely a positive effect, though. It revs people up to play even more. The more excitement you can get for the game the better."
Angelos is currently the active career leader in kills for the Braves, moving into 28th in school history with her 610th career kill last weekend. She is 19 kills from moving up two more spots into 26th on BU's career kills list.
"I just try to score as much as I can for my team," Angelos said. "My focus right now is getting as many kills as I can without any errors."
Currently owning a career-best 2.86 kills per set average, Angelos is hitting a career-high .295 and is second on the squad with a 0.94 blocks per set average.
Bradley hits the road again following the CEFCU Classic, taking on Indiana State, Friday, Sept. 21 (6 p.m.) in Terre Haute, Ind.