No. 9 WSU sweeps MNSU, MNSU wins home opener

The Minnesota State Mavericks volleyball team went 1-1 last week. They lost their conference opener to 9th ranked Winona State University on Thursday, but came back and won their home opener against Upper Iowa on Saturday.

Winona State swept the Mavericks Thursday night, 3-0. The first set did not go as planned for the Mavericks as they started it off with an 8-1 deficit. The Warriors never let the Mavericks get on a roll and won the set handedly with a score of 25-14. The second set appeared to be more competitive as the Mavericks were only down 17-18, but the Warriors proved to be too powerful as they went on a late run to end the set 25-20. Finally, on the third set the Mavericks were up early 4-3 but the Warriors went on an 11-1 run to make the score 14-5. They never let up and defeated the Mavs 25-13.

The Mavericks struggled mightily in the match, but the Warriors looked the part for a top-10 team.

“They were in their system and that took us out of our system,” Assistant Coach Jamie Suapaia said. “They were aggressive and we were timid, and it ultimately came down to us not playing the best MNSU ball that we’re used to.”

Statistically, Winona State had an advantage in every category. They dominated in kills and assists with 45 and 44. The Mavericks only put up 22 kills and 21 assists. The Warriors even had 5 aces to MNSU’s 1. Senior Krista Hassing led the match in kills with 12 and Freshman Sarah Keuhn added 6 kills for the Mavericks. Autumn Risch led the team with 20 assists. Senior Haley Fogarty led the Mavs in digs with 10. Senior Rissi McNallan and Junior Jackie Jones both added 9 digs as well.

It was a different story for the Mavericks on Saturday afternoon against the Peacocks of Upper Iowa. The Mavs were able to sweep the Peacocks 3-0 in front of a crowd of 238. MSU started off the match focused and determined as they took an early lead of 13-7. The Mavs never lost their focus and were able to win the set, 25-21. In the second set, both teams were neck and neck until the Mavericks slowly gained a 21-18 advantage. After that, the Mavs closed out the set with a 25-23 score. The third and final set started off with an early Peacock lead at 10-8, but the Mavericks then exploded on a 10-1 run making the score 18-11. MSU never gave Upper Iowa a chance at a comeback as they finished the set and the match with a score of 25-16.

The Mavericks were in their element on Saturday and Suapaia was excited to see the outcome from her players.

“Risch and Hassing set the tone and maintained a faster tempo that we’re used to playing with. We had control of the ball and our defensive specialists did a great job too,” she said.

MSU had an advantage in all categories. They tallied up 46 kills, 7 blocks, 44 assists, and 59 digs. Upper Iowa had 33 kills, 4 blocks, 31 assists, and 52 digs, respectively. Hassing led the match again in kills with 15. Risch was able to distribute the ball very well as she racked up 40 assists in the match. Fogarty was fantastic on defense as she had a team high 22 digs. Junior Jackie Jones was all over the court on Saturday as she had the second most kills in the match with 9. She also added an ace, 4 blocks, an assist, and 8 digs.

With the win over Upper Iowa, the Mavericks move to 7-3 (1-1 NSIC) on the season. The next match will be back in Mankato on Tuesday, September 20 as they take on the nation’s top ranked Concordia-St. Paul. The match will start at 7 p.m.

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