Morningside bounces back with five-set upset
Morningside was looking to bounce back after a upsetting loss against cross-town rival Briar Cliff on Tuesday, Oct 2. The Mustangs did so in a big way, defeating the number 12 team in the nation, the Northwestern College Red Raiders, in five sets, 27-29, 25-22, 25-19, 18-25, and 16-14 in Allee Gym.
"I am very proud of our team tonight. After a disappointing loss Saturday, we wanted to bounce back twice as strong and let October be a brand new start. We definitely did that tonight!" said Mustang Head Volleyball Coach Beth Donnelly.
Morningside kept Northwestern on its heels early, taking the first set beyond the usual 25 point mark. The Mustangs tallied 19 kills in the set, to the Raiders 17.
Sets two and three saw Morningside post 20 and 12 kills, respectively, with Northwestern terminating 13 in each set. The Mustangs had just nine errors in the two sets, to the Raiders 11.
Northwestern made it clear that it wasn't going to go quietly, taking the fourth set from Morningside. The Raiders hit for a .278 percentage to the Mustangs' .081 in the set.
In the deciding match, Morningside led going into the eight point turn, but Northwestern proved it was still going to be a contender, tying the set at 14. The Mustangs took things from there, courtesy of a service error from the Raiders and a kill by junior Madison Hartman.
Morningside and Northwestern both tallied 70 kills in the match. The Mustangs posted a .249 hitting percentage to the Raiders .250. Similarly, Morningside had 64 assists to Northwestern's 66.
The Mustangs were led on the offensive side of the ball by sophomore Krista Zenk with a career high 25 kills followed by juniors Madison Hartman and Emma Gerber with 14 and 12 kills, respectively. Juniors Callie Alberico and Brittni Olson added eight and seven, with sophomore Caitlin Makovicka tacking on four. Alberico tallied 53 assists in the match.
"Krista carried our offense all night long and was clutch in many plays," said Donnelly. "Ashley Boer played the best defensive match I've ever seen her play and her serve kept them out of system often."
Morningside had a .961 receiving percentage, led by freshman Kayla Harris and Krista Zenk, each with 23. Sophomores Merrin Van Velzen and Ashley Boer added 20 and 18 respectively.
The Mustangs surpassed the Raiders in the digs category, 76-64, thanks to Boer, Harris, Van Velzen, and Alberico all racking up totals in the double digits.
Morningside had seven team blocks in the match, led by Emma Gerber with a match high three solo blocks. Alberico, Olson, and Rohwer also contributed to the total.
"This really was a team win tonight. My staff had our team prepared for everything that came at us, and to them, I tip my hat!" said Donnelly.
The Mustangs are back on the court on Friday, Oct. 5, with a 7:30 p.m. contest with the No. 10 in the nation Defenders of Dordt College.