SEWARD, NEB – Momentum was not on Morningside’s side when it came to the closing sets at Concordia University Friday, Oct. 11.
The host Bulldogs were able to fight back from a set one loss to ultimately claim victory over the visiting Mustangs in four sets by scores of 21-25, 28-26, 27-25, and 25-18. With the loss, Morningside slipped to 12-7 overall and 4-5 in the GPAC.
Once the Mustangs got settled into their venue for the night, they opened up a comfortable lead over their hosts, leading by eight early in the set. The Bulldogs would go on a hot streak to get back into the set, closing the gap to four points. The Mustangs four-point cushion would remain intact, as they won 25-21.
Set two started the same for Morningside, stretching out to a 17-10 lead before Concordia fought their way back into the set. The Mustangs led until the scoreboard read 24-21, where they got stuck. The Bulldogs made it 24-24 and Mside responded, making the score 25-24, then 25-25, and 26-25, before Concordia would tie the set again at 26. The Bulldogs then went on a short run to claim the 28-26 victory.
“It’s always huge to win the first set of a road match. Set two for us was off to a great start and we hit the cruise control,” analyzed coach Beth Donnelly.
Set three went to Concordia, after seeing both teams jockeying for the lead, going point for point during the second half.
Donnelly reflected, “The set two loss was crucial. I think if we pulled out set two, we could’ve left there with a 3-0 sweep.”
In set four, both teams again were again running side-by-side until the 10-10 mark. At that point Concordia pulled ahead for good, claiming the set 25-18 and the match 3-1.
Morningside’s leaders at the net included Catlin Makovicka with 12 kills and a match-leading kill percentage of .478. Emma Gerber (SR/Worthington, MN) had 10 kills, Kaelyn Giefer (SO/Loveland, CO) had nine kills, and Brittni Olson (SR/Sioux City, IA) and Krista Zenk (JR/Le Mars, IA) had seven kills each.
Olson was the Mustangs’ largest defensive factor at the net, getting a hand in on five blocks. Gerber, Zenk, and Makovicka each had four block assists. Courtney Baruth (FR/Sioux Falls, S.D.) and Giefer each had a solo block in the outing.
In the back row, Kayla Harris (SO/Dakota City, NE), wearing the libero jersey, collected 24 digs. Merrin Van Velzen (JR/Sergeant Bluff, IA) and Ashley Boer (JR/Rock Rapids, IA) each had 15 digs, and setters Sabrina Creason (SO/Shawnee Mission, KS) and Callie Alberico (SR/Fort Calhoun, NE) had 9 and 7, respectively.
Alberico also had 24 assists while Creason had 22.
“Our approach for tomorrow needs to be to start strong and finish early. We did a great job starting tonight, in all the sets but just could not finish,” said Donnelly.
The Mustangs next face Hastings College, on Saturday, Oct. 12, with varsity playing at 3:00 p.m. in Hastings, Neb.