By: Ben Adamson
SPRINGFIELD – Missouri State improved to 7-1 for the first time since 2010 and just the sixth time since 1982 Sunday afternoon with a 3-1 victory against visiting Valparaiso at Hammons Student Center, notching a season-high 59 kills to move to 3-0 in Missouri Valley Conference play.
Amelia Flynn had 20 kills and 13 digs for her seventh consecutive double-double and seventh career match with 20-plus kills, and Brooklyn Cink recorded her fifth double-double of the year with 13 kills and a career-high 16 digs as the Bears won by set scores of 25-20, 24-26, 26-24, 25-21.
Azyah Green hit .375 with 10 kills and Kennedee Anderson dished out a career-best 55 assists, the most for an MSU player since the 2018 finale. Freshman Reagan Casey added nine kills and four blocks, while Green and Cink had five blocks each to help the Bears match their season high with 11 stuffs.
“I’m really proud of the team,” said head coach Steven McRoberts. “Valpo has a really nice team and I knew it was going to be a tough matchup. We had a lot of players chip in today. It was our most balanced attack, defense, everything across the board where we had the most people play well so far this season.”
Missouri State never trailed in the first set, hitting .300 with four blocks as Flynn provided five kills. Both teams hit above .300 in the second period, with Valpo owning a 21-18 kill advantage and closing on a 3-0 run to even the match.
The third set featured 16 ties and 11 lead changes, with the Bears overcoming a 22-19 deficit to win. Two more Flynn kills helped even the score at 24 before a pair of Valpo (2-2, 1-2) errors gave MSU the win.
The Bears used a 4-0 run to lead 8-5 in the fourth set and never trailed after that, going ahead 21-16 on Green’s 10th kill and getting a kill and an ace from Flynn for a 23-19 lead after the Crusaders closed within two points, and the teams sided out to the finish.
Missouri State hit .209 compared to .198 for Valpo and lifted 80 digs, with Teagan Polcovich (19) and Holly Luginbill (16) joining Cink and Flynn in double figures.
The teams meet again at 3 p.m. Monday.