Volleyball wins two out of three

The Wichitan

Senior outside hitter Miranda Byrd paced the Mustangs’ attack with 14 kills and four blocks against TWU Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Hannah Hofmann)

Story by MSUMustangs.com

The MSU volleyball team won two out of three games this weekend. The Mustangs defeated Texas A&M Commerce and Missouri Southern State but trailed to Texas Woman’s University.

Thursday 

The Midwestern State Mustangs had to fight back a scrappy Texas A&M-Commerce squad Thursday afternoon, but came out with a 3-1 Lone Star Conference triumph at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.

The Mustangs (5-1, 2-0) downed the Lions (1-1, 0-1) 25-18, 25-9, 26-28, 25-18 to record their fifth victory under the Dome this season.

The Mustangs were paced by the play of sophomore Caitlin Wallace of Amarillo who collected 14 kills while smashing a .458 hitting percentage.

“That what we expect her to do,” said MSU Coach Venera Flores-Stafford.

“That’s what she trained to do in the spring and she learned a lot. Her technique and fundamentals have gotten so much better than last year.”

Senior Hillary White of North Richland Hills/Richland added 10 kills, while senior Miranda Bird of Atlanta, Texas added nine kills and three blocks with a .467 hitting percentage.

The Mustangs had little trouble in the first two sets, but struggled in the third against the Lions.

A&M-C fought off three MSU match-point serves in the third set before tying the frame at 26 and getting the next two points to fall to force a fourth set.

“(A&M-Commerce) is going to push,” Flores-Stafford began.

“They didn’t want to lose and we got comfortable and allowed them to make the errors. They came up playing well to get the set.”

In the final set, the Lions held tight with MSU, trailing by one at the midway point 15-14. However, the Mustangs rallied for four straight points to take control of the set and never looked back.

A&M-Commerce got 13 kills and six blocks from middle blocker Kayla Bond of Denton to lead the Lions.

The match was the first of three in three days. The Mustangs traveled to Dallas to meet Missouri Southern on a neutral floor on Friday and finished their weekend with Texas Woman’s on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Dome.

Friday 

Midwestern State’s Miranda Byrd delivered one of the biggest matches of her career to lift the Mustangs to their fourth-straight win in a 25-15, 23-25, 32-30, 25-18 decision over Missouri Southern Friday night in the DBU Invitational at Burg Center.

The senior middle blocker paced the Mustangs with 14 kills while posting a career-best seven blocks as the Mustangs improved to 6-1 on the season.

“That’s what a senior is supposed to do,” MSU coach Venera Flores-Stafford said.

“This has been a long stretch. I’m proud the girls have stepped up the way they have. We just need to step up and keep it going.”

Midwestern completed its three matches in three days stretch Saturday afternoon against Texas Woman’s University in a Lone Star Conference contest at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. First serve is slated for 2 p.m.

The Mustangs fought off a pair of set points in the decisive third set and rallied to win four of the final five points in the set after staving off potential Missouri Southern clinchers at 26-25 and 29-28.

“It was just a matter of maintaining composure and staying aggressive,” Flores-Stafford said.

“We’ve really grown from last season and now we’re playing to win the point. It’s maturity that is kicking in.”

The closely contested set features 17 ties and nine lead changes as the Mustangs put off the final Lions’ set point with a kill by junior Shelbi Stewart to knot the game at 29-all.

MSU then put up back-to-back blocks when Stewart and Byrd teamed to block Missouri Southern’s Katie Politte to give the Mustangs their fifth set point.

Politte, who finished with 15 kills, put down another winner before Byrd’s solo block set up the Lions’ 10th attack error of the set to give MSU a 32-30 edge.

The Mustangs claimed convincing wins in the first and fourth sets with a solid .256 team attack percentage while limiting Missouri Southern to a .164 hitting night.

Sophomore middle blocker Caitlin Wallace and senior outside hitter Hillary White joined Byrd in double figure kills with 13 and 11, respectively, while MSU’s setting duo of Kimberly Jeffrey (28 assists) and Kristan Aduddell (20 assists) combined for 48 assists.

Senior libero Kiara Jordan paced the Mustangs’ back row efforts with a season-high 28 digs, while White completed her first double-double of the season with 19 digs.

Sophomore Claire Webster and freshman Katie Bertling added to the Byrd’s big night at the net with three blocks each.

Casey Ball paced the Missouri Southern attack with a match-high 16 kills while Politte and Rachel Olinyk added 15 and 12 kills, respectively. The Lions dipped to 1-5 on the season.

Saturday

Midwestern State had three chances to close out Texas Woman’s University in three sets in Lone Star Conference play Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.

But the Pioneers staved off each of the match points and rode the momentum to their first win of the season by scores of 16-25, 23-25, 28-26, 25-19, 15-9 to improve to 1-5 on the season and 1-1 in league play.

The Mustangs (6-2, 2-1) appeared to be on the verge of extending a winning streak to five matches when Hillary White put down her sixth kill of the match to give MSU two match points.

But the Pioneers rallied with a Hannah Marshall kill and survived an MSU attack error to knot the score at 24-all before White delivered another kill to give the Mustangs another closing opportunity.

This time, TWU erased the chance with a Chloe’ Tate kill then put the set away, then rode the strength of their outside hitting duo of Tate and Viktorija Jablonska to a five-set victory.

The duo finished with a match-high 17 kills apiece, while Tate was in on seven of TWU’s 11 blocks as the Pioneers turned the tables after a very hot Midwestern State start.

The Mustangs committed just one error in a dominating first set while hitting .483 as a team, but MSU committed 35 attack errors over the remainder of the match including two sets with a .000 team kill rate.

Senior Miranda Byrd paced the Mustangs’ attack with 14 kills and added four blocks, while fellow middle blocker Caitlin Wallace added 13 kills and three blocks.

Senior outside hitter Hillary White pitched her second consecutive double-double with 12 kills and a season-high 23 digs, while freshman Katie Bertling had 10 kills and 14 digs.

Senior libero Kaira Jordan led back row efforts with 28 digs.

The Mustangs play Incarnate Word Thursday in San Antonio.

MSU Lady Mustangs Saturday, Photos by Hannah Hofmann:

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