JAMESTOWN, N.D. – A strong start for Morningside against a top 10 opponent wasn’t enough to help the Mustangs get over the hump in Saturday’s GPAC Postseason Tournament match against the University of Jamestown. Morningside dropped the match in straight sets, 25-21, 25-14, and 25-20.
The Mustangs drew first blood in the opening set, but were then on the receiving end of a quick three point run. The Mustangs snapped out of it quickly, thanks to a kill by Emma Gerber (SR/Worthington, MN), and began the back and forth that would ensue for most of the set, with Morningside on the leading side until a 9-9 tie.
It was then Jamestown’s lead until back-to back kills by Caitlin Makovicka (JR/Ceresco, NE) tied the set, and a Brittni Olson (SR/Sioux City, IA) kill took the lead again, 16-15. An error tied the set again before another kill for Olson and a Kayla Harris (SO/Dakota City, NE) ace gave Morningside an 18-16 lead. Jamestown quickly tied the score again, then took a 21-19 lead. Morningside again tied the score off of a pair of kills for Gerber, but was quiet the rest of the set.
“I was pleased with the way we played in set one,” recounted head coach Beth Donnelly. “I told the team that we are right there with a top 10 team, and not even playing our best volleyball. Unfortunately we didn’t continue playing at that level in set two.”
Set two started with another ace for Harris, but was quickly followed by three points for Jamestown. Madison Hartman (SR/Morgan Hill, CA) picked up a kill as the teams traded a few points. A kill for Krista Zenk (JR/Le Mars, IA) saw the Mustangs down 6-4 before Jamestown took the next four to make the score 10-4. Morningside would pick up another 10 points throughout the set, but the Jimmies had the upper hand and ended it 25-14.
Morningside again scored first in set three, thanks to a kill for Hartman and an ace for Ashley Boer (JR/Rock Rapids, IA). Jamestown quickly tied the set, then pulled ahead 3-2. The Mustangs took a pair of points, thanks to errors for the Jimmies, but quickly trailed 10-5.
Several points later, an Olson kill and an ace for Zenk brought Morningside to within three, down 10-7. The Jimmies made it 11-7 before Morningside went on a three-point run to pull to within one. Gerber then had an error to give the Jimmies another point, before picking up another kill to make it 12-11. Jamestown took four more before the Mustangs picked up three of their own, including a Callie Alberico (SR/Fort Calhoun, NE) kill.
Jamestown again extended its lead, making the score 20-14, then 23-15 after a kill for Gerber. Ryley Rolls (FR/Alliance, Neb.) picked up the first postseason kill of her collegiate career as Morningside made the score 23-17. The Mustangs made a three-point stand, including a pair of kills for Makovicka, but were unable to claim a win as Jamestown took the set.
Gerber was the Mustangs’ leader at the net, picking up eight kills in the set. Makovicka had seven and held a team-high .333 kill percentage. Hartman and Zenk each had six kills, and Brittni Olson had four. Alberico had all 27 of the Mustangs’ assists.
Defensively, Harris led Morningside in digs, with 18. Hartman had seven, Alberico and Rylie Muhlbauer (JR/Manning, IA) each had six, Gerber had five, and Boer and Van Velzen each had four.
“I’ve gotta give credit to Ashley Boer who played very aggressive defense against sometimes an open net,” said Donnelly.
“Jamestown is flat out, disciplined. They have great chemistry and play as a team. I think we can learn a lot from teams like that.”
Jamestown is flat out, disciplined. They have great chemistry and play as
On the defensive side of the net, Morningside was quiet for most of the first two sets. Gerber again led the Mustangs, with a solo block and pair of block assists. Makovicka also contributed a pair of assists, and Olson picked up a solo block.
Morningside will sit dormant until pool play of the 2019 NAIA Volleyball National Championship, presented by Delta Hotels, starting on December 3.