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Cougars clinch berth in UMAC volleyball tournament

The University of Minnesota, Morris volleyball team clinched an Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Tournament berth, wrapping up the regular season at 19-12 overall and 8-6 in the UMAC.

The Cougars closed the season winning six of the final seven games entering the tournament on Wednesday, where they will face St. Scholastica in the first round.

Martin Luther 3

UM-Morris 1

The Cougars suffered a 3-1 loss on the road to Martin Luther Friday, breaking a four-game winning streak for the Cougars.

The host Knights prevailed in an overtime first set 28-26, before taking the match after 25-13 and 25-17 wins in the second and fourth sets, with the Cougars claiming just a 26-16 win in the third.

Morris won back-to-back points late to take a 26-25 lead, but a Cougar service error on the next point was the three straight for Martin Luther as the Knights went on take the opening set.

The Cougars finished the night hitting just .144, topping out with a .200 mark in their third-set win, while the Knights hit .214, including .361 and .306 marks in the second and fourth sets, respectively.

Stephanie Schmiesing led the Cougars with her best match of the year, posting 17 kills with just four errors to hit .419 and pace the offense. Emily Auch added nine kills, with Kaylie Clark also pitching in eight, while the Cougars finished with 50 for the match.

Martin Luther had three players in double figures for kills, led by 16 from Rebecca Engelbrecht.

Natalie Thomas finished with 33 assists , making just one error in setting seven different players to at least one kill.

Auch led the defense with the second highest tally of her young career with 18 digs, with Clark adding 17 and Brita Humphrey adding 16 as she moved closer to 1,000 in her career.

UM-Morris 3

Bethany 1

UM-Morris 3

Augsburg 0

The Cougars posted wins in both of their matches on the final day of the regular season, Saturday, posting a 3-1 win over Bethany Lutheran in Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) play, and a 3-0 win over Augsburg in nonconference action.

Each win was of the comeback variety, as the Cougars dropped the first set 25-21 to the Vikings, before taking the next three 25-17, 25-15, and 25-21. Then against the Auggies, the Cougars trailed by at least four in each set before winning 25-22, 25-23, and 25-23.

Auch with 12 kills and Clark with 10 led the Cougars in the first match against the Vikings, with Auch posting a .344 hitting percentage with only one error. Thomas directed the offense with 32 assists, with Mandy Allman also pitching in 12.

Humphrey with 21 digs led four players in double figures, as she went over 20 in a match for the fifth time this season.

Against Augsburg, Morris overcame deficits of 7-2 and 17-12 in the first set, using a 9-2 run late to take the lead on the way to the win. In the second, Augsburg jumped out to a 4-1 lead and eventually led 18-11 before the Cougars went on a 10-1 tear en route to taking the set. Finally, in the third set, the Auggies went up 4-0 before the Cougars settled down to play mostly even the rest of the way in taking the match.

Auch was the only Cougar to finish with double-digit kills, posting 11 to go over 10 for the second straight time and 16th time this season. Thomas added 31 assists and goes over the 2,600 mark for her career after 63 on the day.

Clark led the defense with 17 digs, her seventh best mark of the season, leaving her with 400 on the year, the 10th best single-season in school history