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Cougars have 1st 2-0 start in UMAC volleyball

For the first time in school history, the University of Minnesota, Morris volleyball team opens the season 2-0 in Upper Midwest Athletic Conference play.  The Cougars defeated Bethany Lutheran 3-1 Friday and swept Martin Luther Saturday at home both days.

UM-Morris 3, Bethany 1

Minnesota Morris enjoyed a 3-1 win over the Vikings from Bethany Lutheran Friday. The Cougars picked up the win 25-11, 25-18, 23-25 and 25-17.

Four Cougars finished with double figure kills, led by Emily Auch and Alyssa Haugen, who each had 12. Hannah Knott had 11 kills and Abby Tietz added 10.

Kaylie Clark had 28 digs to lead the defense.

Mandy Allman had 28 assists. She was honored before the match for her 1,000th career assist, a mark she achieved earlier this season.

The Cougars were in full control in the first set as they hit .333 and held BLC to -.138. Knott, one of the four seniors, had three kills during the set. Tietz had two blocks and two kills in the set.

Bethany played much better in the second set and trailed 12-10 midway through. The Cougars scored three straight to take a five-point lead, but BLC did not go away quietly. Morris led just 18-16 late, but great defense kept UMM ahead of the Vikings. Minnesota Morris forced a BLC timeout after scoring three straight and taking a 21-16 lead. Auch and  Haugen each had five kills in set number two. Clark had 12 digs in the second set, as the Cougars held the Vikings to .122 hitting.

In the third set Morris fell behind early, but recovered to tie the set at five. The two teams battled back and forth with both claiming small two-point leads. Back-to-back service aces by Brooke Decker made it 18-14 and forced a BLC timeout. Bethany Lutheran tied the set at 19 before Kayley Siekmann scored off a dump kill. The Vikings took a 22-21 lead late and the Cougars could not pull out the victory.

It was another barn burner early in set four as neither team could gain control. Minnesota Morris took a 12-8 lead midway through the set. The lead grew to as much as 16-8 before the Vikings got back on the board.

UM-Morris 3, Martin Luther 0

The Cougars swept Martin Luther 27-25, 25-17, and 25-22.

Morris was led by  Auch and Tietz offensively. Auch had 12 kills and seven digs. Tietz had 10 kills and seven digs. Siekmann nearly tied her season high with 20 assists to lead the offense. Allman added 18 assists. Clark led the team with 19 digs.

The first set was tied at eight before UMM went on a 6-2 run to take a 14-10 lead. Martin Luther pulled to within one at 17-16, but the Cougars held the lead. Morris had set point at 24-21, but the Knights rallied to tie the set at 24. UMM could not close out the set until an attack error gave Morris the 27-25 win.

Martin Luther jumped out to a 5-1 lead early in the second set, but Morris rallied to tie it at six and then took the lead. Morris extended the lead to 13-7 midway through the set and pushed it to as much as eight at 22-14 before closing out the set 25-17.

It was close in the third set as well until MLC opened up a 15-11 lead midway through the set. Three straight points by the Cougars pulled them to within one and they took the lead at 19-18 after kills from Tietz and Auch. Martin Luther tied it at 20, but Morris would not be denied the sweep as they scored three straight.

Next up for the Cougars is a road trip north as they will take on Northland and St. Scholastica this weekend.