MSU stays perfect in Valley play with sweep of Indiana State

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — The Missouri State volleyball team reached the 20-win plateau for the 18th time in the last 19 seasons Saturday evening with a 25-14, 25-17, 25-16 victory at Indiana State.

The Bears (20-5, 12-0 Missouri Valley Conference) extended their win streak to 13 matches overall and 28 in MVC play on the strength of a .390 team hitting percentage, led by Lynsey Wright’s 15 kills on .636 hitting and Aubrey Cheffey’s 14 kills on 26 swings without an error.

Wright vaulted past Mindy Struckhoff, Katie Werges and into a tie with Erin O’Connor for the No. 9 spot on MSU’s career kills list with 1,244, while Cheffey’s kill total represented a career high for a three-set match. MacKenzie Irwin added six kills on seven attempts.

Defensively, Lily Johnson had eight digs to become the sixth player in MSU history with 1,500 in a career, and the 11th player in NCAA Division I history with 1,500 digs and 2,100 kills. Emily Butters led all players with 17 digs, and Daniele Messa added 14 along with 36 assists.

Cheffey had six kills in the first set and was key to a pair of MSU runs, first scoring three straight points to give Missouri State the lead for good at 5-3, and adding consecutive kills to cap a 4-0 run at a 17-10 advantage. Wright added three of her six kills late to help the Bears pull away after hitting .333 as a team with 17 kills and one error.

The Bears never trailed in the second set, and turned a 10-9 score into a 15-9 lead with a 5-0 run that included two kills and a block from Cheffey. The teams sided out to the final score with the exception of MSU holding serve twice, and the Bears hit .536 in the period with 16 kills and one error on 28 swings, paced by Wright’s 6-for-6 effort.

Missouri State jumped ahead 7-1 in the third set and led by at least two points for the remainder of the frame. ISU (7-16, 5-6) pulled to 13-11, and the Bears countered with a 12-5 closing run.

The Bears’ five attack errors tied for the fewest on record at Missouri State, joining 2009 matches against Bradley and Mississippi State and a 1990 contest versus Eastern Illinois for that distinction. The Bears held the Sycamores to .124 hitting with leads of 46-33 in kills, 50-47 in digs and 5-1 in blocks.

MSU returns home on Monday at 7 p.m. to take on Valparaiso (13-11, 5-6).

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