Illinois State senior libero Courtney Pence became the Missouri Valley Conference's career digs leader Friday night during the Redbirds' 25-18, 25-9, 25-17 league victory over Loyola at Gentile Arena in Chicago.
Pence set the record with her fourth dig of the match, surpassing the mark of 2,656 by Northern Iowa's Ellie Blankenship from 2007-10. Pence finished with 12 digs and now has 2,665.
"She was tremendous," ISU coach Leah Johnson said. "She didn’t see a lot of action, because our game at the net was so good that not much got through. Everything that did get through, went to zone six, which isn’t where she plays, so she earned 12 digs on hard, scramble plays.
"She just stays in the fight all season. It doesn’t matter if she gets high volume or low volume, her intensity never changes and her leadership never changes.”
Marissa Stockman led ISU with 12 kills and seven blocks as the league-leading Redbirds improved to 23-5 and 15-1 in the MVC. Stef Jankiewicz had a team-high 34 assists in ISU's 11th straight victory. Ali Line added 11 kills for the Redbirds, who play Saturday night at Valparaiso.
Loyola (15-12, 7-8) was paced by Delilah Wolf's 27 assists.
Mattes earns All-Region: Illinois State senior Kyle Mattes took eighth place to take All-Region honors for the second straight year as the Redbirds finished ninth in the NCAA Cross Country Midwest Regional at Peoria, their best showing since 2001.
Competing in his first 10K of the season, Mattes positioned himself in the lead pack early and stayed steady as the race progressed. As the pace picked up over the final 2K, he never faltered and finished in 31 minutes, 4.60 seconds. He placed seventh last year and became the first Redbird to earn back-to-back All-Region accolades since Ryan Rutherford in 2013-14.
ISU's Kevin Koski ended his junior campaign with a top-50 regional finish, placing 49th with a personal-best 32:07.80. Cody Baele (32:22.90), Jack Anstey (32:27.50), and Kimathi Johnson (32:32.90) placed 64th, 69th, and 77th, respectively.
The Redbird women finished two spots higher than last year, placing 20th among 34 teams. Audrey Janik was the first ISU runner to cross the finish line for the third time this season, placing 68th in 21:45.40 for the 6K race. Freshman Rachel Hickey was 69th in 21:46.60.