The path to success just got a little bit easier for the Minnesota State volleyball team.
In a tough Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference with five nationally ranked teams, the Mavericks went into the weekend looking for some momentum within the conference.
With a chance to get back to .500, the Mavs looked to matchups with the University of Mary and Minot State to get back on the right track, and that’s exactly what happened.
The Mavs picked up two sweeps on the weekend to move to 7-7. Their seven wins on the season are already more than the team had a season ago, and the Mavs are now trending in the right direction.
Their sixth win of the season occurred Friday in Bismarck, N.D. against the UMary Marauders. Despite the sweep, the Marauders gave the Mavs all they could handle as the Mavs took 25-22, 25-22 and 26-24 wins.
The first set was a back-and-forth affair until the teams were brought to a tie at 15. From there, the Mavs scored five straight points, putting the set in their control. Despite a comeback attempt from the Marauders, the Mavs were able to hold them off to take the first point.
The second set was another dogfight, with both teams going on runs and playing it close as the two teams were neck-and-neck up until a 20-20 tie. The Mavs were able to close out the game once again, sealing the set with another 25-22 victory. Two-zip Mavs, and victory was in sight.
The Marauders were able to see the same things that the Mavs saw, and made life hard for the Mavs as they tried to close out the night and head home with a sweep. Despite taking a 4-0 lead as the game began — and holding a 14-10 lead midway through the match — the Marauders always fought back and made the game close. Taking a lead at 20-18, it was looking like the Marauders would pull away with this one. Furthermore, the Marauders had a 24-22 lead, within one point of taking the third set, but the Mavs fired back with four straight points to win the set, 26-22.
Sophie Tietz led the way offensively for the Mavs, with 16 kills and two service aces, along with Elizabeth Dille, who recorded nine kills and 13 digs, which led all players in Friday’s match.
Head coach Corey Phelps expressed confidence in his players and was pleased with the way his team performed.
“Sophie and Dille played very well. We’re taking steps in the right direction and making good changes defensively,” said Phelps in a press release posted to the Maverick Athletics website.
After taking home the sweep, the Mavs were right back in action the next day to take on the Minot State Beavers.
The Beavers made it easier on the Mavs. Either that or the Mavs were much more motivated to get their second win of the weekend.
In the first set, the Beavers jumped out to an early lead, but the Mavs gnawed away, eventually tying it at 13 before taking control of the game and cruising to a 25-17 win. The ability to flip the switch and close out games was a huge help to the Mavs’ ability to win. In the second set, it was shown yet again.
This time, it came later in the set. The Mavs and Beavers played their most competitive set this time around, and the lead changed hands 10 times before the Mavs took over after tying the game at 20. They scored four more points to put the game out of reach before a kill from Dille ended the Beavers’ hopes for set no. 2, and in essence, the series.
Set No. 3 was another Maverick domination, taking home the 25-18 win while never trailing by more than a point. Toryn Richards and Kiya Durant combined for 22 kills, Ellie Kline had 17 digs, a match-high, and the Mavs were able to work in some of their reserves to show the quality of talent throughout their roster.
“I’m happy we notched a couple wins this weekend,” said Phelps. “Toryn was very solid today. Our depth as a team shines through when we can have different athletes step up.”
After their wins, the Mavs will head back to the Taylor Center where they will host MSU Moorhead and Northern State for Homecoming week. They will play the Dragons Friday at 6 p.m. and the Wolves Saturday at 11 a.m.
Header Photo: Getting back to .500 is critical for this Mavs team. In a very strong conference, every game matters. (Dalton Grubb/The Reporter)
Write to Hayden Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org