#5 Kielen LaPlante and #15 Maiana Stark compete with Morris’s #12 McKenzie Newton for a block.
Photo by Pratham Mundra
Minnesota Morris went toe-to-toe, but unlike Saturday’s five-set victory for the Yellowjackets in the regular-season finale, the Cougars prevailed in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference semifinals, 3-1, on Jim Gremmels Court Tuesday.
Minnesota Morris advanced to the UMAC championship match with a 25-19, 18-25, 25-23, 25-23 victory over Superior, ending the ‘Jackets’ season at 12-17. The match was tight throughout, featuring 33 tie scores and 12 lead changes, including a combined 24 ties and seven lead changes in the third and fourth sets alone.
The Yellowjackets jumped out to an 8-4 advantage on a Pryd kill that capped a four-point spurt. Following a Teff error, UWS rattled off four more points on two more Pryd kills, a Jenna Anderson ace and Morris error to extend the edge to 12-5.
The Cougars cut the lead to 15-10 with a quick three-point run, but UWS cruised to the set win, ending it with a Stark kill from Teff for the seven-point victory. UWS held a 20-17 edge late the third on a Laura Wellbeck service error but couldn’t finish off the set as Morris used a 5-0 run to take control.
A Teff swing stopped the momentum momentarily, but the Cougars took it five points later a Geller winner. Superior posted a 9-7 advantage early in the fourth, but Morris rallied to take a 17-15 edge with a Geller swing, assisted by Newton.
A Pryd kill knotted the score at 17-17 before the teams’ traded points to 22-22. The Cougars used consecutive blocks by Geller and Jenna Howden to set up match point, though. The Yellowjackets staved off one, but Nash gave her team the match with a swing from Newton for the win.