PEORIA, Ill. -- Sophomore Courtney Keefe (Lemont, Ill./Lemont) notched her third double-double in the last four matches and junior Amy Angelos (Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan) tallied a match-high 13 kills to help power Bradley to a 25-16, 25-16, 25-21 victory against Evansville Saturday afternoon at Renaissance Coliseum.
Bradley (7-13 overall, 1-8 MVC) turned in a solid defensive effort, limiting the Purple Aces to an .097 attack percentage and a balanced offensive attack to earn its first Missouri Valley Conference victory of the season. Angelos led all players with 13 kills and hit .308 on the day, while Keefe added 12 kills and 11 digs for her second consecutive double-double.
The Braves were strong at the net in the opening set, collecting five blocks in the first frame and held Evansville (7-15 overall, 2-7 MVC) to a .000 hitting percentage in a convincing 25-16 victory. BU jumped out to a 5-1 lead and never looked back, stretching the advantage to as many as 11 points at 20-9 on an Angelos kill. Keefe had four kills and seven digs to help Bradley take the opening set, capping the victory with one of her 12 kills on the day.
A 6-1 BU run early in the second set helped the Braves build an early 9-3 advantage. Evansville pulled within four points at 19-15 on a Bradley error, before another 6-1 run helped the Braves take the frame 25-16. Keefe, who had six kills on nine swings in the second set, had a kill and ace during the closing run. Junior Alise Tupuritis (Des Plaines, Ill./Maine West) also added six of her 10 kills in the second set.
Bradley had to battle from behind in the third set, trailing by as many as five points (13-8), before rallying to complete the sweep. Angelos followed a Keefe kill with back-to-back kills of her own and Bradley eventually went ahead 17-16 when Tupuritis ended a 9-3 BU spurt with a kill. Tupuritis notched three kills during the run.
Knotted at 19-19, back-to-back Evansville errors gave the Braves a 21-19 lead and sparked a 5-1 Bradley run. An Angelos kill to finish the spurt gave the Braves a 24-20 advantage and a Madelyn Ervin (Lewis Center, Ohio/Olentangy) kill later sealed the set at 25-21.
Angelos finished with a match-high 13 kills to lead three BU players in double figures. Keefe hit .312 in the victory, while Tupuritis chipped in with 10 kills. Junior Lauren Zerante (Elmhurst, Ill./York) anchored the back row with a match-high 21 digs, finishing one dig short of matching the Bradley record for digs in a three-set match.
Bradley continues a season-long, four-match home stand Friday with a 7 p.m. match against I-74 rival Illinois State at Renaissance Coliseum.