PEORIA, Ill. -- Bradley rallied from two sets down to force a deciding fifth frame and held match point at 14-13, but Missouri State answered with three consecutive points to pull out a 25-23, 25-19, 19-25, 23-25, 16-14 victory against the Braves Thursday at Renaissance Coliseum.
Missouri State (20-9 overall, 11-5 MVC) won a back-and-forth contest in the opener, which featured 17 ties and two lead changes. Bradley (12-12 overall, 6-9 MVC) fought off a pair of set points and trailed 24-23 after an Alise Tupuritis (Des Plaines, Ill./Maine West) kill, but MSU’s Olivia Brand capped a 25-23 Bears win with her sixth kill of the stanza.
The Braves trailed by as many as eight points in the second set (19-11) before senior Amy Angelos (Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan) highlighted a 7-1 BU run with a pair of kills to cut the Missouri State lead to 20-18. With MSU holding a 21-19 advantage, Carly Thomas notched back-to-back kills as the Bears took the frame 25-19.
Tupuritis tallied six of her 15 kills in the third set and helped power Bradley to a 25-19 victory. The Braves jumped out to an early 6-2 lead and never trailed as they pushed the lead to as many as seven points en route to the win. BU hit .302 in the set and collected four blocks in the third.
The Bears erased a 20-16 Bradley lead late in the fourth set and the teams were knotted at 23-23, before the Braves were able to close out the frame 25-23 and force the fifth set. Junior Madison Kamp (Orland Park, Ill./Chicago Christian) broke the tie with a kill and a Rachel Jones (Champaign, Ill./Centennial) kill closed out the frame as the duo helped Bradley to a .304 hitting percentage.
The fifth set was sloppy, with the teams combining for 12 attack errors and just 13 kills. Missouri State appeared to be in control after building a 10-5 lead, but the Braves rallied and eventually held match point at 14-13. Sophomore Jessie Tulacka (Westmont, Ill./Downers Grove North) opened a 6-0 BU run with a kill and sophomore Lea Sack (Lincoln, Neb./Pius X) followed with an ace.
Kamp added a kill after a Missouri State attack error and the score was tied at 10-10 on another miscue by the Bears. Sack served up her second ace of the set to give the Braves an 11-10 lead. Missouri State pulled even at 12-12, however, and held a 13-12 lead after a block, when Kamp found the floor with her eighth kill of the evening to pull BU even at 13-13.
An Angelos kill gave the Braves match point at 14-13, but Brand answered with a big kill for Missouri State to make it 14-14 and a Christine McCartney kill put the Bears in front 15-14. A Bradley attack error ended BU’s rally hopes as the Missouri State took the set 16-14 and escaped with the five-set victory.
Angelos had a match-high 17 kills to pace three Bradley players in double figures. Tupuritis had 15 kills and tied a career-best 20 digs for her 10th double-double of the year. She is now the 10th player in program history with 900 career kills and 600 digs as she passed Nicole Gagnon for 14th in school history in career kills. Tulacka was also in double figures with 15 kills to help lead the Braves.
Senior Lauren Zerante (Elmhurst, Ill./York) became the first player in program history to have two seasons with 450 or more digs, finishing with a team-best 26 digs to push her season total to 455.
Amber Doolittle hit .469 and tallied 16 kills and seven blocks to lead Missouri State. Thomas added seven kills, 52 assists, two aces and 15 digs to help pace the Bears, while Brand finished with 10 kills.
Bradley plays the final home match of the 2013 season Saturday, when the Braves take on conference-leading Wichita State in a 3 p.m. contest at Renaissance Coliseum.