Minnesota Morris welcomed stiff competition to the PE Center Saturday, Oct. 20, in Morris, for a home volleyball triangular in UW-Superior and Augsburg. The Cougars stepped up to the challenges as they topped UW-Superior in the opener in four sets then closed the night with a sweep of Augsburg.
UM-Morris 3, UW-Superior 1
The Cougars dropped a tight five-set match at Superior earlier this season and the two dueled to another grueling first set to the open the festivities. UMM trailed 15-11, but rattled off five of the next six points to pull even at 16. Layne Herrmann started a three-point spurt with a kill then ended it with an ace to give the Cougars a 19-17 lead. The Cougars would later go up 24-22 following a Tori Everson kill. UWS scored the next two points to extend the set. It was still tied at 27 when a block from Morgan Miller and Herrmann and another Herrmann service ace gave the opener to the Cougars, 29-27.
Minnesota Morris used a 7-0 run to break open another tight set late in the second. Down 17-16, Everson provided two service aces in the spurt that put the Cougars up, 23-17. A Brenna Tinjum kill gave the Cougars a 25-19 set win and 2 sets to 0 lead.
UW-Superior took the third set, 25-20 and set up another close fourth set. An 8-2 Yellowjacket run gave them a 17-16 lead, but the Cougars countered with four straight to take a 20-17 edge. Later, UWS pulled within 24-23, but a Tinjum kill closed out the set and the match with a 25-23 win in the fourth set.
Tinjum led the Cougars with 16 kills. Rachel Mathias had 13 and Whitney Schwartz added 12. Herrmann totaled 42 assists to go along with 14 digs. Alyssa Ukestad dug out 15 balls.
The Cougars would sweep the Auggies in the nightcap, 27-25, 25-21, 25-20.
UM-Morris 3, Augsburg 0
Like against UWS, the Cougars needed overtime to take the first set against Augsburg. The Cougars broke a 16-16 tie with a 5-0 spurt that ended with an Everson ace. Augsburg fought back to take a 25-24 lead. The Cougars would score three straight to close out the set that ended with a Ukestad ace.
Another 5-0 run aided the Cougars' effort in the second set. Trailing 7-6, Nori ended the run with back-to-back service aces and the Cougars would not trail again in gaining a two-set lead.
Another well-timed spurt propelled a third set win. Tied at 17, a UMM 4-0 run gave them a lead they would not relinquish. Kills from Mathias, Tinjum, and Herrmann ended the match.
Tinjum led again with 13 kills. Herrmann added 31 assists and Everson led with 17 digs.
Minnesota Morris (20-10, 13-3 in UMAC) closes out regular season play with a non-conference home match Tuesday, Oct. 23 with Concordia-Moorhead, at the PE Center in Morris. The Cougars have qualified for UMAC postseason play and will be no lower than a No. 3 seed for the conference tournament.