PEORIA, Ill. - Saint Louis produced three double-digit kill performances and four double-figure dig efforts in a 23-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-23 victory over Bradley Tuesday night at Renaissance Coliseum.
The Billikens, who captured their first road win of the season, improved to 3-4. Bradley, playing its home opener, fell to 5-2.
SLU's defense played a major role in the match as the Billikens earned an 83-65 advantage in digs. Four players posted season highs, led by Grace Bonoma's match-high 24. Anna Church had 20 digs, followed by Cassie Clarke (16) and Andrea Bolt (11).
Lindsey Dinkelacker led all players with a season-high 18 kills. Lauren Baumet tied her season best with 14 kills while recording a match-high .306 attack percentage (14-3-36), and Megan Gilbert contributed a season-high 11 kills.
In addition, Clarke and Dinkelacker turned in season highs of 48 assists and three blocks, respectively. Carly Marcum and Carly Schumacher tied for team-high honors with four blocks apiece, and Baumet had three blocks.
"This was a good, hard-fought win in a see-saw match," head coach Kent Miller said. "We were able to make big plays when it counted. Our players prepared well for a tough Bradley team, and I'm proud of the spirit they showed and how hard they fought."
After Saint Louis held a pair of three-point leads early in set one, Bradley tied the match at 10. Seven more deadlocks followed before the Braves assembled a 4-0 run for a 21-17 edge. The Billikens pulled to within a point at 24-23, but a Bradley kill gave the Braves a 1-0 match lead.
SLU tallied the first four points of set two and appeared to be cruising to an easy win with a 14-6 cushion. Bradley came all the way back, however, and took a 23-22 lead before the Bills won the set on a Baumet kill, a BU attack error and a block by Baumet and Marcum.
Bradley spurted to a 5-1 advantage in set three. Saint Louis rallied with a 9-4 flurry to take a 10-9 lead, only to see BU regain command with a 5-0 run of its own. The Billikens found a spark, however, and closed the set with a 15-4 outburst.
Set four featured 10 ties and four lead changes. SLU gained the upper hand with a 3-0 run that gave the Billikens a 21-18 advantage, and the lead was 24-20 before Bradley made things interesting with a 3-0 burst of its own. But Baumet's 14th kill of the evening clinched the Bills' third victory in four matches.
Saint Louis hosts the Marcia E. Hamilton Classic Friday and Saturday, Sept. 7-8, in Chaifetz Arena. The Billikens welcome Evansville, Southeast Missouri State and South Florida to town and will play their first tournament match Friday at 7 p.m. against Evansville."We're excited about the tournament this weekend, and we're looking forward to building on the recent success we've had," Miller said.