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Cougars' win streak snapped at St. Benedict tournament

The University of Minnesota, Morris volleyball team recorded an 0-4 weekend at the St. Benedict Tournament Sept. 17-18, snapping a six-match winning streak.

On Friday, the Cougars dropped games to Hamline and St. Olaf. The Cougars then faced UMAC and MIAC heavyweights St. Scholastica and St. Benedict on Saturday.

This weekend, the Cougars will look to right the ship back at home with two matches on Friday. The Cougars play Northland and Concordia at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. respectively, with the Lumberjills and Cobbers set to square off with each other in between.

Hamline 3

UM-Morris 1

The Cougars opened the tournament by falling 3-1 to Hamline. The Pipers opened with a pair of 25-21 wins in the first two sets before the Cougars won 25-21 in the third set. UMM was unable to complete the comeback though, as Hamline closed out the match with a 25-18 win in the fourth set.

St. Olaf 3

UM-Morris 0

Things did not get any easier for the Cougars later in the day, when they met up with St. Olaf, the 16th ranked team in the country. The Oles handed the Cougars their first sweep since the first week of the season with a 3-0 win by scores of 25-22, 25-19, and 25-21.

Megan Theis had a big day for the offense, slamming down 11 kills against Hamline in the opener, and coming back for seven more against St. Olaf. She also finished with four total blocks on the day, including three block assists against Hamline.

Stephanie Schmieising swung for six kills against Hamline, but heated up for a season-high 12 against St. Olaf. Her 12 against the Oles were a team high for the match, and second only to St. Olaf's Kim Smisek, who collected 21 on the day.

Natalie Thomas continued her command of the offense with 38 and 27 assists in the two matches, respectively. 

St. Olaf 3

UM-Morris 0

The Cougars started Saturday dropping a 3-0 decision to UMAC favorite St. Scholastica by scores of 25-20, 25-13, and 25-21.

The Cougars closed the tournament with a loss to MIAC power, and tourney host, St. Ben's 25-11, 25-22, and 25-15. In the latest AVCA top-25 poll, the Blazers were just outside the rankings, but did receive top-25 votes.

Theis paced the Cougars with 16 kills on the day, including 10 on just 26 attempts against St. Ben's. Theis swung for a .346 percentage against the Blazers, one of the best marks of the game. Theis also had two block assists in the St. Ben's match, as well as three digs on defense.

For her efforts on the weekend Theis was named to the All-Tournament team at the conclusion, one of just six players honored.

The Cougar defense made their presence known in the narrow set two loss, as they held the Blazers to a mere .080 hitting percentage, forcing 10 errors in 50 attempts.

Shannon Stinchfield finished with nine kills in the two matches, collecting four against St. Scholastica and five more against St. Ben's.

Thomas dished out 24 assists against St. Scholastica, but was held in check by the Blazers, finishing with just six.

Nichelle Grage finished the match with a team-high nine assists.