MARYVILLE, Missouri – The No. 15-ranked Northwest Missouri State Bearcat volleyball team survived a tussle in five sets from rival Missouri Western on Wednesday in Bearcat Arena.
Northwest won by set scores of 25-21, 25-12, 26-28, 16-25, 15-10. Northwest improves to 8-1 on the season, while Missouri Western falls to 6-3 overall. It was the MIAA opener for both schools.
The Bearcats looked to be in total control of the match in taking a 2-0 lead through two sets. Northwest had 15 kills in the opening set and hit .225, while Missouri Western had 10 kills and hit .194. Northwest kicked it up a notch in the second by hitting .400 with 18 kills and only two errors, while Missouri Western was limited to five kills and hit .065. Northwest sided out at a 75-percent clip in the second set.
The Griffons refused to give in and built a 21-18 lead in the third set. Northwest battled back to a 21-21 tie as junior Hallie Sidney drilled three straight kills. Missouri Western had two set points at 24-23 and 25-24 but Northwest thrwarted both efforts. The Bearcats held match point at 26-25 but could not close out the match. The Griffons scored the final three point to force a fourth set. The Griffons hit .273 with 17 kills and five errors in the third. Northwest hit .216 with 18 kills and seven errors.
Missouri Western used an 8-0 run to turn a 6-6 tie in to a 14-6 advantage midway through the fourth. The Griffons hit .270 with 13 kills and three errors, while Northwest sputtered with 10 kills and five errors for a .125 hitting percentage. Northwest sided out at 37-percent in the fourth.
The Bearcats gained the upper hand in the fifth on the strength of a 6-2 start. Four early miscues from the Griffons forced a timeout from head coach Marian Carbin. The Griffons would pull to within 7-5, but the Bearcats extended the lead to 11-6 on kills from Morgan Lewis, Sidney and Rachel Sturdevant. The Bearcats sided out on 9-of-11 chances in the fifth set for an 81-percent clip.
Northwest will be back in action Saturday at Central Missouri. The Bearcats and Jennies will match up at 3 p.m. in Warrensburg, Missouri.
NOTES: Sidney collected her fifth double-double of the season with 23 kills and 13 digs … three Bearcats reached 20-plus digs – Hannah Koechl (23), Sturdevant (22) and Sophie McMullen (20) … Maddy Ahrens secured her third double-double of the season with 58 assists and 12 digs to go along with a match-high five service aces … Bethany Elkins added 14 kills and a team-best four blocks.Northwest 3, Missouri Western 2 -- NCAA VB Box Score