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Cougar volleyball opens with 3-1 weekend

The University of Minnesota, Morris volleyball team wrapped up a successful opening weekend on Sept. 3, going 3-1 during their stay at the UW-Stevens Point Tournament.

Morris opened the tourney with a 3-0 (20-25, 15-25, 18-25) loss to MIAC foe St. Catherine, but closed out Sept. 2 with a 3-1 (17-25, 25-18, 18-25, 25-20, 15-11) victory over Illinois Wesleyan.

Then on Sept. 3, the Cougars swept their two games, winning 3-2 (25-14,17-25,25-17,18-25,17-15) over North Central, and 3-1 (19-25,25-13,25-12,25-21) over Marian.

All three of the Cougars' wins were of the comeback variety, dropping the first sets against Illinois Wesleyan and Marian, while they overcame a late fifth-set deficit against North Central, coming back to win 17-15. And with their two five-set wins, the Cougars have now won seven straight matches that went the distance, with their last five set losses coming late in the 2009 season.

The weekend's top performer was Stephanie Schmiesing, who tallied a team best 35 kills over the four matches, while also posting team best .238 percentage at the net. Kaylie Clark also topped the 30-kill mark, finishing with 31, while also adding 34 digs on the defensive side.

Libero Brita Humphrey led the way defensively with 43 digs, and was helped up front will 11 total blocks from Hannah Knott. Schmiesing also added nine blocks.

In the five-set marathon with North Central, Schmiesing set the weekend standard, logging 18 kills on 40 attempts. In that same match Natalie Thomas also dished out a season-high 44 assists. Later that same day she again hit the 40 mark, this time in the four-setter with Marian.

For her efforts, which included 133 assists over the four games, Thomas was named to the All-Tournament team, the only Cougar honored.