ASHLAND, Wis. – The University of Minnesota Morris volleyball team held off Northland College in four sets on Friday night, downing the LumberJills 25-21, 19-25, 25-21, 25-18. The win upped the Cougars to 14-12 (10-3 UMAC) on the season and kept them alone in second place with one final regular season match left.
After starting off the match with somewhat sloppy play, Minnesota Morris cleaned things up as the match went along and ended up outhitting Northland in the match, .246 to .146. The Cougars had 11 of their 15 attacking errors in the first two sets, then took things over in the third and fourth to wrap up the victory.
Despite six errors in the first set, Minnesota Morris jumped out to an early lead because Northland was a little worse, finishing with seven errors in the set. The LumberJills had a 17-14 lead until consecutive kills from Sydney Sommers and back-to-back attack errors from Larissa Fossum. After building a 23-21 lead, the Cougars closed out the set with a kill from Maggie Jones and one final Northland attack error.
In the second set, Northland built a lead and were able to hang on despite numerous attempted comebacks from the Cougars. Minnesota Morris tied the score for the final time at 11-11 and proceeded to pull within a point of the LumberJills on four occasions. Holding a 20-19 edge, Northland was able to score the final five points to close it out and tie the match at 1-1.
A tough start to the third set saw Minnesota Morris fall behind, 6-1, before rallying to tie it up at 9-9. Northland had another seven attacking errors in the set and it began to take a toll as the Cougars began to build a lead. With the score 23-21 in favor of UMN Morris, a service error from the LumberJills gave the Cougars a set point and they finished it off quickly with another Northland attack error.
The worst was yet to come for the Northland offense. Nine attack errors in the fourth set helped Minnesota Morris finish things off on the night. The score was knotted at 11-11 when the Cougars scored six straight, including two kills from Sommers and a solo block from Maggie Jones. The LumberJills would get no closer than five points the rest of the way as Minnesota Morris cruised to the victory.
Sommers ended the night with a career-high 15 kills and six digs. Jones added another 12 kills and three solo blocks. McKenzie Newton had six kills, 33 assists, and 21 digs. Alyssa Ukestad chipped in with 14 digs.
Minnesota Morris wraps up the regular season tomorrow with a 1 p.m. start at UW-Superior. The Cougars will play in a UMAC semifinal on Nov. 3, with results around the conference tomorrow likely to play a role in determining the location of the match and the opponent.