Above photo courtesy of the UMHB Athletics Department
BELTON, Texas- Though challenged in the second set, the UMHB volleyball team notched its 12th straight victory on Friday night against Concordia, sweeping the Tornadoes 3-0 (25-8, 28-26, 25-10).
UMHB, who also swept Schreiner in non-conference play on Tuesday, is a perfect 12-0 on the year, and 7-0 in ASC play. The Crusaders remain in control of the conference standings, two wins ahead of second-place ETBU. In each of the last three AVCA Top 25 polls, UMHB has moved up, now ranked No. 9.
The Crusaders opened Friday’s match with a Kylie Metcalf kill, and never looked back, mounting a 10-0 advantage before Concordia tallied its first point on a service error from Alli Pierce. The one-sided first set saw the Cru hit .357, and limit Concordia to a hitting percentage of -0.133. The last of the Tornadoes’ nine errors in the opening set gave UMHB the 25-8 victory.
But as dominant as UMHB was in the first set, Concordia found its rhythm and remained in step with the Cru throughout the second set. The widest margin was six, a 20-14 UMHB lead, but for the majority of the set, the lead was no more than two points. Concordia actually hit better, .333 to UMHB’s .294, and held the lead on seven occasions. After the Cru took its largest lead of the set, a 9-2 run from the Tornadoes gave Concordia a 23-22 advantage.
“Set two was just very low intensity on our part defensively,” UMHB head coach Mark Pryor said following the match. ” We didn’t really challenge them from the service or from the net. That really allowed them to get going.”
With Concordia holding the set point, the Crusaders made a defensive stand, and kills from Sarah Grace Merry, Hannah Frasca and Kayla Janikula allowed UMHB to earn the 28-26 victory.
“They had set point on us,” Pryor said, “and it was then that we really made a conscious choice to really fight and work on our mentality.”
The Crusaders followed their narrow set two victory with a 25-10, match-clinching win in set three. It began similar to set one, with an 11-0 UMHB run, highlighted by two early kills from Merry. UMHB capped off the final set with a 3-0 run, winning on a Concordia attack error.
UMHB hit .382 for the match, its offensive attack resulting in 45 kills. Frasca led the team in kills, with 13, and Pierce added 30 assists. Starting libero Maddie Gillespie contributed with six service aces.
Said Pryor: “We are really happy with how clean we played on offense, but I think we can learn from this that mental detail is imperative for long term sustainable success.”
The Crusaders return to action on Monday night at 6:00 p.m., hosting Belhaven. The Blazers are 2-11 overall, and winless in ASC play.