Volleyball shows improvement, growth after 3-1 weekend

The Mavericks volleyball team continue on the path of success after their matches in South Dakota this past weekend. Once again by winning three of four matches, MNSU plays at a competitive level leading up to the home opener against the Winona State Warriors this Thursday.

In convincing fashion, Minnesota State took the victory in the opening match, defeating the Minot State Beavers in three sets; 25-15, 25-21, and 25-11. The team stat comparison leans favorably across the board for MNSU in this matchup. The Mavs did not give up any aces to the Beavers and were able to serve up eight of their own throughout the first match.

An onslaught of offense propelled MSU in the first set. Junior Sydney Powell led the team in kills for the match with thirteen, six of those being scored during the opening set. The Mavericks were able to break away from the Beavers after a five-point scoring run bookended by kills from Sophomore Anissa Janzig, which made the score a comfortable 21-12. The Mavs claimed victory in the first and looked ahead to the second set.

The Beavers stayed competitive in the second set. The lead was owned by Minot State early on but points from four different Mavericks put them ahead 8-6. The new leader Minnesota State would hold that position for the remainder of the set despite the Beavers coming within two of the Mavericks at the end.

Set number three was another dominant win for the Minnesota State Mavericks. An eager MNSU defense stood in Minot State’s way to victory this set. Sophomore Morgan Olson executed two early blocks to establish the defensive tempo for the Mavs.

Minnesota State’s sweep of the Minot State Beavers was the most offensively productive match thus far in the season. The Mavs averaged twenty points-per-set in this match and achieved another season-high with just over fifteen kills-per-set.

History repeated itself in the second match as the Mavericks were on the other side of a sweep. Minnesota State was defeated by the host team, no. 23 Northern State, 15-25, 21-25 and 20-25. The Northern State Wolves sprinted out of the gate to a 4-0 lead in the first set. The Wolves’ head start would be enough to remain ahead of the Mavs for the set’s entirety.

The Mavericks went the distance against their ranked opponent in the next set, but consecutive points from Northern State’s Morgan Baufield ended MNSU’s fight for a victory in the second set. The third was similar to its predecessor in competition and unfortunately for the Mavs, so was the result. Northern State benefitted from several late-attack errors committed by Minnesota State, clinching the match sweep on a late Wolves scoring flurry.

MNSU put on another offensive showcase in the third match of the Aberdeen tournament with their second-best scoring effort of the year. Another statistical highlight of the match is the 11 aces scored by the Mavericks, with freshman Micayla Porter leading the team with four. The first set’s outcome prevented a sweep of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology but the Mavs did secure the match win in four sets; 21-25, 25-22, 25-14, and 25-18. The Hardrockers capitalized on the defensive woes of the Mavericks in the first set but MNSU was able to adjust in the following three sets, leaving the South Dakota School of Mines in the same position as they entered the match: winless.

While the increased offense is an improvement for the Mavs this past weekend, their final opponent University of Minnesota – Crookston got a full dose of the Maverick defense that cemented the sweep for their third match victory of the weekend; 25-16, 25-8 and 25-12. The 54 digs on the Mavs’ side of the score sheet is the highest for any of their matches this season, including those longer than three sets. Freshman Mara Quam counted for almost half of the team’s digs in the match with twenty of her own, which is also a team-high in a match for the tournament.

Minnesota State faces off against Winona State for its first home game Thursday at 6:00 p.m. in the Taylor Center and then travels to Fayette, Iowa for the first away game of NSIC conference play.

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