Above photo by Russell Marwitz/True To The Cru/russellmarwitz.com
BELTON- In the regular season finale on Thursday night, the UMHB volleyball team pulled off a momentum-building win over Concordia, with victories in three straight sets. The 3-1 final (22-25, 25-20, 27-25, 25-15) moves UMHB to 17-7 overall, as the ASC Tournament becomes the Cru’s next focus.
How it happened
The visiting Tornadoes were unaffected by the vocal crowd at UMHB’s “pink out” game, as they went to work in the opening set, overcoming an 8-4 deficit. After CTX cut the UMHB lead to two, 15-13, the Cru quickly responded by extending the advantage to four. But the Tornadoes soon put together a 5-1 run, tying the score at 19 apiece on Kinsy Haschke’s kill. CTX scored six of the set’s next eight points to win, 25-22.
Five Crusaders tallied at least two kills in the second set, as UMHB won 25-20, setting up the most competitive set of the contest. In the third set, the momentum swung back and forth like a pendulum. First, it was CTX who raced out to a 9-4 lead, then the Crusaders scored four straight for a 13-12 advantage, moments before the Tornadoes rattled off a 5-0 run. And so it went, with the fans on the edges of their seats, eagerly awaiting the result. For the home crowd, it ended up being a result in their favor, as UMHB won on a 4-1 run to close the set, with Katie Warden providing the statement kill for a 2-1 match lead.
Needing to win just one more set for the victory, UMHB carried the confidence from the third set into the fourth, and wasted little time in taking a commanding 11-5 lead. The Tornadoes opened the set with four of the first five points, but everything went the Cru’s way for the next several minutes, as UMHB mounted a 9-0 run. CTX got it as close as 15-12, before UMHB again pulled away, this time in the form of a 6-0 spurt. Hannah Frasca, then Warden, capped off the match with back-to-back kills, as the Cru emerged with a 3-1 win, and likely, the No. 2 seed in the ASC Tournament, though that will not be determined until Saturday’s matches are completed.
Notable Team Numbers
UMHB hit for a percentage of .194, lower than every win this season, aside from the Whitman and Simpson victories in early September. The Cru overcame CTX’s solid defensive play by an excellent balance in the offensive attack; four players had eight or more kills. UMHB’s 52 assists were also the fourth-most during the regular season, and the Crusaders tallied 70 points, the third-highest point total in a match this year.
Frasca led the way with 16 kills, and Kaylie Vasil and Warden joined her in double figures with 12, and 10, respectively. Jenci Seahorn added eight. Ella Brunson was consistent once again in the assists column, with 45. Frasca had 24 digs, the second-highest mark on the team, for yet another double-double. Alyssa Christiansen recorded 26 digs.
UMHB will now await its seeding for the ASC Tournament, set to be played November 3-5 at UT-Dallas in Richardson.