The Mustangs wrapped up the regular season in winning fashion on Halloween night, playing the victor over the Flames from College of Saint Mary 3-1 in women’s volleyball action. Morningside’s 25-18, 21-25, 25-21, and 25-23 victories secured them a berth in the NAIA National Volleyball Tournament, held in Sioux City starting on Nov. 27. The Mustangs are 13-13 on the season and 7-9 in the increasingly competitive Great Plains Athletic Conference.
Morningside’s women totaled 64 kills on the night, led by matching contributions of 16 kills from junior Emma Gerber and sophomore Krista Zenk, with hitting percentages of .361 and .351 respectively. Junior Brittni Olson also turned in a double digit hitting effort, with 14 kills.
The home team collected 79 digs across the evenings four sets, led by freshman Kayla Harris, who scooped up a match high 27 attempted kills from the Flames. Merrin Van Velzen, a sophomore from Sergeant Bluff, IA, chipped in 14, with sophomore Ashley Boer and junior setter Callie Alberico just missing double digits with nine and eight dig efforts.
“Phenomenal,” started head coach Beth Donnelly, regarding Harris. “I think that kid gets better and better every set. She’s a freshman. She’s in a position that’s absolutely unasked of a freshman and she’s doing it. No problem.”
Alberico and freshman Sabrina Creason did the setting for Morningside, with Alberico handing the ball out 24 times and Creason 30 for 54 of the Mustangs’ 60 assists in the match.
“I was really impressed with our setters tonight. They did a really good job of establishing the offense early. We got Gerber the ball early. We got Britt the ball early. It opened up some avenues a little bit. Once we got the ball rolling on offense, it just took care of itself,” said Donnelly.
The Mustangs put together 10 blocks on the night, with solo contributions from Lauren Rohwer, a freshman from Aurelia, IA, and Zenk. Gerber, Olson, and Caitlin Makovicka joined Rohwer and Zenk with block assists.
Morningside is headed to the GPAC Post Season Tournament as the number six seed, with a 7:00 p.m. match at Hastings College on Sat., Nov. 3, courtesy of a three way tie at the second spot in the conference standings.