SIOUX CITY, IOWA – Communication, focusing on one point at a time, and staying aggressive with the serve were three points that coach Beth Donnelly wanted to emphasize for Friday night’s women’s volleyball match against Dakota State. The Mustangs came out on top in the three set contest, with scores of 25-17, 25-23, and 25-19.
Morningside had three players turn in serving percentages of 1.000, highlighted by Kayla Harris (SO/Dakota City, NE)’ 10-for-10 night from behind the service line. Ashley Boer (JR/Rock Rapids, IA) went 17 of 19 and Callie Alberico (SR/Fort Calhoun, NE) when 15-for-16 with two service aces. As a team, they totaled three aces and a .907 serving percentage, having just seven errors in 75 attempts.
“We were serving a whole lot tougher tonight than we have been,” explained Donnelly. “Passing was a little up and down, but when we were on a roll offensively, we were pretty stinking good. There are still some bumps in the road, but I did like to see that when we got down early, we fought back and didn’t panic.”
Not to be outdone, the Mustangs serve receive turned in a mere five errors in 48 attempts, for a percentage of .906, led by Boer carding a perfect 11-for-11, Merrin Van Velzen (JR/Sergeant Bluff, IA) going nine of nine, and Madison Hartman (SR/Morgan Hill, CA) going four-for-four. Harris, the reigning GPAC Defender of the Week, was 11-for-12, for a percentage of .917. The receiving corps also amassed 63 digs on the night, led by Harris with 23, Boer with 13, and Alberico with 11.
“We do our best to try to channel balls to Kayla, but the truth is, if a ball gets away and it goes to middle back, we’ve got stellar back row players in Ashley and Merrin.” Donnelly continued, “I think they do a good job of staying calm when our front row’s a little frantic, and they do a phenomenal job of keeping us alive and keeping us in some points that maybe should’ve dropped a long time ago.”
Morningside was led at the net by Emma Gerber (SR/Worthington, MN) with nine kills and a .474 attack percentage, leading all attackers in kills and trailing only DSU’s Madelyn Shockey’s one-of-one attempt for in the percentage race. Teammates Brittni Olson (SR/Sioux City, IA) and Caitlin Makovicka (JR/Ceresco, NE) notched 8 kills each. This was in part thanks to assist totals of 19 from Alberico and 16 from Sabrina Creason (SO/Shawnee Mission, KS).
“It was evenly spread,” said Donnelly of their attack on the night. “Our setters did a really good job of pushing the ball around, getting the one-on-one opportunities, and our hitters did a good job of staying in their route. They were running what they’re supposed to be, they weren’t assuming that they weren’t getting set. They’re staying honest.”
Defensively, the Mustangs had solo blocks turned in by Gerber and Courtney Baruth (FR/Sioux Falls, S.D.), while Gerber led the team with five block assists, followed by Baruth and Krista Zenk (JR/Le Mars, IA) with three each.
Morningside’s next contest features the Warriors of Midland University on Wednesday, Sept. 11 at 7:30 p.m. following the 6:00 p.m. junior varsity game.
“We got pushed up against the ropes tonight and just kept swinging and chipping away. I like to see that fight in the girls. Overall it was nice to kind of redeem ourselves and put it away in 3.”