Kaylee Martin contributed 18 kills and 19 digs as Illinois State turned back Valparaiso, 25-12, 24-26, 25-12, 25-21, on Sunday in a Missouri Valley Conference volleyball match at Redbird Arena.
Kaitlyn Prondzinski and Sydney Holt had 11 kills each, while Sarah Kushner added 10 as the Redbirds used a .239 hitting percentage in improving to 7-4 overall and 5-2 in the MVC.
Stef Jankiewicz registered 48 assists and 17 digs for ISU. Kendal Meier led the defense with 23 digs and Nicole Lund chipped in nine kills and four blocks.
"I think we're hitting a stride," said ISU head coach Leah Johnson after the Redbirds' third straight win. "Syd (Holt) being back and cleared to play makes a big difference. Not that she's just on the court, but we have to defend her arm in the gym and block against her and you have to strategize when you're on the other side of the net against her."
Valpo (3-6, 2-5), which was held to a .139 hitting percentage, was led by Peyton McCarthy's 11 kills.
"Set two was what we were expecting the whole match," said Johnson. "It was acknowledging we didn't play poorly, they played better. We made a couple adjustments. We went away from our slide and went away from our right-side offense. That made a big difference."
ISU and Valpo will conclude the two-match series at 4 p.m. Monday at Redbird Arena.
Women golfers third: ISU fired a first-round 310 to take the lead in the Strutter Gus Invitational at Statesboro, Ga., but was third when the second round was suspended.
Georgia Southern was leading at 29-over, with Seminole State (Fla.) two strokes behind and the Redbirds at 41-over in the 12-team field at the Georgia Southern University Golf Course.
Emma Sutton shot a 3-over par 75 to pace ISU in the first round. Becca Black shot 76 and Ali Schrock 79.
Baseball canceled: ISU's doubleheader Sunday against Belmont in Nashville, Tenn., was canceled due to unplayable field conditions.
ISU has added a doubleheader at Southern Illinois Edwardsville for Tuesday, with two seven-inning games starting at 2 p.m.