Volleyball Takes Bradley Invitational Title after beating Bradley In Four Sets; Keaton Wins MVP - Southeast Missouri State University Athletics
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Volleyball Takes Bradley Invitational Title after beating Bradley In Four Sets; Keaton Wins MVP

Volleyball Takes Bradley Invitational Title after beating Bradley In Four Sets; Keaton Wins MVP

Aug. 28, 2010

By Bo Bunton
Southeast Missouri State Sports Information

Final Stats |  Photo Gallery 

PEORIA, ILL.- The Southeast Missouri volleyball won the final three sets after dropping the first set 25-15. Freshman Julie Shives, and seniors Kelly Benacka and Claire Keaton were named to the All-Tournament team, with Keaton winning MVP honors.

Keaton finished the match with 15 kills, and 20 digs, while Kelly Benacka had 25 digs. Julie Shives had an impressive 49 assists and 16 digs.

Southeast could not overcome the Braves accurate attack attempts in the first set, as Bradley posted 21 kills on 43 attempts. The Redhawks had nine kills on 35 attempts, but only committed two errors.

Freshman Emily Coon continued to play well, posting three kills on four attempts. Senior Emily Hughes knocked down two kills on six attempts, and freshman Julie Shives assisted on nine kills. "Julie has a very bright future," said head coach Renata Heard. "By the end of the tournament, she did not look like a newcomer."

Claire Keaton led the way with five digs, while Meagan Webb and Kelly Benacka each had three.

In the second set, the Redhawks and Braves battled back and forth, with Southeast taking its first lead at 9-8. They continued to hold the lead throughout the set, and finished with a 25-21 advantage.

Through two sets, Coon had eight kills on 14 attempts, and Keaton had seven kills on 20 attempts.

Southeast took the momentum into the third set, matching point for point with Bradley until several blocking errors gave the Redhawks a 17-15 lead. After a long rally with the score at 19-17, Karlee Lursen tipped a ball in to give Southeast a 20-17 lead. Claire Keaton sent a hard swing into the back row that was unable to be returned, which put Southeast up 23-18. Coon and Keaton ended the set with a block that gave the Redhawks a 25-20 set win. "Our defense was very strong tonight," said coach Ren. "Kelly did a great job anchoring our back row defense and our defense at the net was strong."

The fourth set started out different for Southeast, as they scored the sets first three points. The Braves countered with a six point rally, but Southeast kept the pressure on. A long rally with the score 7-7 was highlighted by Emily Hughes laying out horizontally to save a Braves kill and a Berkley Idel dig which led to a Redhawks point.

A timeout by Bradley stopped Southeast's momentum, but only for two points. The Redhawks superior play forced head coach Renata Heard to crack a smile and fire up the bench as Bradley could not find the floor on the Redhawks side of the net.

Southeast scored seven straight points to cushion the lead to 22-14 on powerful swings by Coon and Karlee Lursen. Lursen ended the match with another powerful swing, as the Redhawks finished off the Braves with a 25-17 final.

The Redhawks kept the energy up the entire match, which was vital in pulling out a win. "I was very pleased with the way we bounced back," said coach Ren. "Our energy was on edge the entire match, and we focused on making one mistake being only one mistake."

Tournament MVP Claire Keaton finished the tournament with 41 kills, and 40 digs. She had 15 kills and 20 digs in the final match. "Claire was a rock for us today," said coach Ren. "She not only stepped up her game, but her leadership was exceptional. I am looking forward to a very exciting senior year."

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