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Cougars avenge earlier loss to Martin Luther

The University of Minnesota, Morris avenged a sweep from the Martin Luther Knights Friday, Oct. 19 in five sets. The Cougars won the match 3-2, coming back from being down two sets to none.

The Cougars started the first set battling back and forth with the Knights to gain control of the match. Morris pulled ahead early in set one 7-4, before Martin Luther came back and took a 9-7 lead. The Cougars took the lead thanks to a kill by Emily Auch. The Knights tied things up at 18 apiece. The Cougars fought their way back into the game, tying it up at 24. In the end the Cougars dropped the first set 28-26.

Morris tried to regroup and take the second set. The Cougars jumped out to an early 7-5 lead and tried to build on that, after a kill by Addie Vancura. Morris built an 18-13 lead, but Martin Luther battled back closing it to an 18-17 lead. The two teams continued to battle it out, tying the game up at 22, before the Knights took a one-point lead. After the Cougars final timeout of the set, they tied the set up, taking a 24-23 lead. In the end the Knights took the second set 33-31. The set featured 18 ties, with only seven lead changes.

Morris needed momentum as they headed into the third set down 2-0. The teams went back and forth, staying within a point of each other for the first 13 serves before the Cougars were finally able to take a two-point lead. That lead wouldn't last for long, because the Knights again found a way to fight back and tie it up at 10. Neither team found a way to break away. The Cougars started to build momentum and made it a 21-19 game. Following a Knight timeout UMM went on to take the third set 25-22.

The Cougars continued their comeback, taking an early 6-3 lead, as they tried to take control of the fourth set early. They built up to an 8-3 lead, forcing the Knights to take an early timeout, as they closed to within one point. Jennifer Schmidt had two straight kills to put the Cougars up 13-11. Following that Hannah Knott and Schmidt recorded a block making it 14-11. The Knights found another way to battle back tying the game up at 16 apiece. The Cougars took control of the game, building a 21-18 lead, before Martin Luther took their final timeout. Following the timeout the Knights climbed back and tied the game back up at 21. After an ace by Allie Humphrey the Cougars took a 24-23 lead, but the Knights stopped Morris right there and tied it back up. Mandy Allman set up Auch for the final kill and the Cougars won the fourth set 27-25.

In the final set, Martin Luther jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, before the Cougars called a timeout to try and slow the Knights. That wasn't enough to slow the Knights down, as they went up 6-0 before UMM would use their final timeout. Finally, Auch was able to get a point on the board for the Cougars. That started the Cougars on a run of their own, making it 6-4. After the teams switch sides Martin Luther looked to take control once again with a 10-5 lead, before Morris battled back closing it to 10-9. Auch got another kill and the Cougars took the lead 12-11. The Cougars eventually came back to win the final set 15-13.

The Cougars were led by Auch with 16 kills, along with Kaylie Clark with her 36 digs. Schmidt and Tietz added 15 kills and Addie Vancura had 13 kills, a season high. The 15 kills for Schmidt and the 13 for Vancura set new career highs for both players. Brooke Decker's 35 assists was a career high for the freshman setter.