Volleyball splits games on their first NSIC road trip

The Minnesota State Mavericks (8-5, 3-2 NSIC) volleyball squad began their first road trip of conference play last weekend when they traveled to Aberdeen, S.D. on Friday to take on Northern State (9-4, 4-1 NSIC), then to Moorhead on Saturday to take on the Dragons (1-12, NSIC 1-4).

The Mavs went into Aberdeen knowing that it wouldn’t be easy, going face to face with one of the top teams in the NSIC who was on a five-game winning streak, including a 3-0 against the No. 10 Winona State Warriors.

Northern State started the first set off with some very aggressive plays, taking the first four of five points.

The Wolves did not let go of the lead for the entire set, closing out the set with a 9-3 run and taking the first set, 25-13.

In set number two, the Mavericks found themselves with their first lead of the match, taking the 6-3 lead after dropping the first point of the set.

The Wolves found their groove, and made a 7-1 lead, overtaking the Mavericks with a 10-7 lead.

The two NSIC teams traded points, with the Wolves maintaining about a three point lead for the majority of the set. The Mavericks brought it within two points at the end of the set with a 22-24 score, but it wasn’t enough to get on top, when a Maverick hit the ball just barely out of the court.

The Mavericks come into set three with one last chance to stay alive in the match, and they make the most of it. The first 10 points of the set, both teams were neck and neck, until the Mavericks started to pull ahead 10-6, forcing the Northern State to take a timeout.

Following the timeout, MSU adds another five points, while the Wolves can only add three, forcing NSU to take their second timeout of the set in an attempt to slow down the Mavericks’ momentum.

The wolves get to work immediately after, and bring it to a one point game at 17-16. The Mavericks start to pull away and maintain their lead to take their first set of the match, 25-21.

MSU came into their first set number four of the year with the momentum still in their favor, trying to push it to a final set.

Set four couldn’t be closer, with the entire first half of the set being a one point match, until Northern State started to pull away with a 16-12 lead. The Mavericks tried to keep themselves in the contest, but wouldn’t be able to accomplish their goal, as the end of the set was all Wolves, taking the 25-17 set win, and the 3-1 match win. 

Mariah Edgington led the Mavericks in kills with 10, adding on 12 digs, and one ace, while Mara Quam led MSU with 17 digs and two aces. 

The loss in Aberdeen didn’t hinder the Mavericks performance at all on Saturday, where they looked to bounce back against the Dragons of Moorhead.

The Mavericks started off a tad shaky, falling behind 8-2 in the first set, but started to pull it together following a timeout from head coach Corey Phelps.

The Mavericks then found themselves in a 16-9 deficit, making an attempt to come back with a couple kills from Ellie Danielson and Kiya Durant. 

MSU found their focus and took control of the second half of the first set, going on a 16-5 run, and making the comeback in the first set 25-21.

In set two, the Mavericks had a far better start than previously, grasping the lead immediately.

Though it was a small 11-8 lead for the Mavericks, it turned into something much bigger. Minnesota State University, Mankato scored the next 11 of 14 points making it a 22-11 game.

But it wouldn’t stop the Dragons from fighting back.

MSU-Moorhead went on a run of their own, making it a 24-21 game, but couldn’t find success on the Mavericks first set point.

Going into set three with a 2-0 lead, the Mavs wanted to go back to Mankato with at least one win from their road trip, and do exactly that. Set three was completely dominated by the Mavericks, winning set three 25-14, and sweeping the Dragons.

The win would mark the Mavericks sixth straight win against Moorhead, and send the Mavericks home with split games.

Edgington once again led the Mavericks with 11 kills, totaling 21 on the weekend. This slots Edgington in as the lone Maverick in the top 20 in the NSIC in kills with 142 (2.96/set).

Feature photo by Mansoor Ahmad / The Reporter

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