The Bradley University volleyball team hosted a intra-squad scrimmage Saturday afternoon at the Renaissance Coliseum. The Braves enter the 2014 season under the leadership of head coach Jenny Maurer in her fourth year. Maurer’s team returns 10 letterwinners, including four starters, from last year’s squad which had the most wins (13) and highest Missouri Valley Conference win total (7) at Bradley since 2005. After tying for sixth in the Valley standings last year, the Braves feature a young, but experienced roster in 2014. Madison Kamp (Orland Park, Ill./Chicago Christian) is the lone senior on the team, marking the first time since 2004 that Bradley has less than two seniors. Kamp, who averaged 1.83 kills per set over the final six matches of the 2013 season, earned MVC All-Tournament honors after tallying 10 kills and four blocks against Southern Illinois in Bradley’s first MVC Tournament contest since 2005. Junior Jessie Tulacka (Westmont, Ill./Downers Grove North) is the top returning attacker for the Braves, after she averaged 2.31 kills per set as a sophomore and is the team’s active career kills leader. She helps headline a group of five juniors. Sophomore Melissa Hoerber (Fulton, Mo./Fulton) was second in the Valley in aces per set and was the first freshman to lead the team in aces since 2009. The Braves welcome three freshmen to the roster Jamie Livaudais, Afton Sobasky and Taylor Thiele
refused to let its record crowd go home disappointed, rallying for a 2-2
draw against the defending national champion and preseason No. 1
team, Notre Dame
, in front of 3,099
fans Tuesday night at Shea Stadium
. Just when it seemed the visiting Irish took the life out of the crowd with a go-ahead goal in the 79th minute, the Braves netted its second equalizer of the night on Christian Okeke‘s toe poke inside the right post at 84:09. The fifth annual Danny Dahlquist Memorial Game was billed as the “Battle of Champions” and the exhibition lived up to the hype, despite its exhibition status. While Notre Dame is the defending national champion, Bradley is the defending Missouri Valley Conference Tournament champion. As a preseason exhibition, and after the two teams also played a reserve game earlier in the evening, no overtime was played Tuesday. Notre Dame earned a 1-0 victory in the 60-minute reserve game on the strength of Jon Gallagher‘s 52nd-minute goal.
Bradley freshman closer Matt Dennis earned the win by throwing 5.2 strong innings in his first career start and senior catcher Austin Jarvis drove in the deciding run in his final game at Dozer Park, leading the Braves (23-25, 5-16 MVC) to a 2-1 win against Indiana State (35-14, 14-7 MVC) Saturday afternoon in the regular-season finale for both teams. The win ended Indiana State’s hopes of claiming a share of the regular-season Missouri Valley Conference championship and set up a rematch against the second-seeded and host Sycamores in the MVC Baseball Championship Tuesday at Bob Warn Field. The two teams will play a fourth consecutive game against one another in the fourth first-round game, a scheduled 7:30 p.m. (EST) start in Terre Haute, IN. Dennis (4-2), who made his first 19 appearances of the season in relief, limited Indiana State to one run on four hits in his longest career outing. Lefty Cameron Roegner finished off the strong pitching effort by tossing the final 3.1 innings. He worked around four hits to earn his first save of the season.
Sophomore Kendall Duffy hit a fifth-inning grand slam to highlight a five-run inning for Bradley and freshman Jaelen Hull limited Loyola to four hits and one run in three and one-third innings out of the bullpen as the Braves rallied for an 8-7 victory against the Ramblers in the championship game of the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Saturday afternoon. Bradley (27-30 overall), which earned its second NCAA Tournament trip with the victory, trailed twice before Duffy’s fifth-inning grand slam gave the Braves an 8-6 lead after five innings. Madeline Lynch-Crumrine was named the tournament MVP after posting a 2-0 record with a 1.98 ERA in three starts to go with a .273 batting average at the plate. She was joined with team mates Brianne Joseph, Shannon King and senior Marina Groenewegen. Along with the all-tournament honors, senior Mariah Cole was named the MVC’s Elite 18 Award winner, given to the student-athlete with the highest grade point average in the championship game. A health science major, Cole owns a perfect 4.00 cumulative grade point average. The tournament title was Bradley’s second in program history and first since winning the 2009 event at Eastside Centre in East Peoria, IL. The NCAA Tournament field will be announced Sunday at 9 p.m. (CDT) on ESPNU. Here are a few of my snap shots from the game. I hope you enjoy them. Best of luck to coach Amy Hayes and the team Go Braves!
Bradley junior Alyson Clemente belted a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth to help the Braves rally from a 5-4 deficit and top Missouri State 8-5 Thursday afternoon in the second round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. The Braves advance to face regular-season conference champ Wichita State in the semifinals Friday at noon. Bradley (25-30 overall) appeared to be in control early on with senior Madeline Lynch-Crumrine limiting the Bears (28-27 overall) to one hit in the first four innings and she faced the minimum 12 batters through the first four frames. Senior Mariah Cole started a Bradley rally in the bottom of the sixth with a sharp one-out single to third base. Junior Brittany Burgess and senior Brianne Joseph loaded the bases with back-to-back bunt singles for Clemente, who ripped a towering shot over the left field fence for her fifth homer of the year.