Mustangs Roll in MSU/Hampton Inn-vitational
Midwestern State flexed its defensive muscle to stifle No. 20 Truman (Mo.) and Nova Southeastern (Fla.) in 3-0 sweeps to take its first two matches at the MSU/Hampton Inn-vitational Friday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.
"We played really well," MSU coach Venera Flores-Stafford said. "We definitely saw improvement from last year. We were able to keep it together and hold our composure when we were challenged late in sets."
The Mustangs finished off each set in a flourish against Truman to claim 25-21, 25-23 and 25-21 set wins while holding the nationally-ranked Bulldogs to a .118 team attack percentage.
Meanwhile, the Mustangs committed a total of six errors over the final two sets of the match to close with a .252 attack rate led by sophomore middle Caitlin Wallace, who notched 10 kills without error with three total blocks.
Senior libero Kiara Jordan posted 17 digs to lead the Mustangs' back row efforts, while seniors Hillary White and Miranda Byrd joined freshman Katie Bertling with seven kills each.
"Our defense was spectacular," Flores-Stafford said. "It really held us in games. The longer you keep the ball up, the better chance you have of putting the ball away on the other side."
MSU used its defensive pressure to force Nova Southeastern into 23 attack errors and a negative attack percentage while cruising to a 25-14, 25-16, 25-17 win in the second match of the day.
Jordan once again led the way with 25 digs, while Byrd and junior Shelbi Stewart contributed four total blocks.
Stewart also led the way on the offensive end with nine kills, while White tallied eight as the Mustangs combined to hit .240 on the day as a team.
"Our setters did a great job of spreading the offense," Flores-Stafford said. "It was an all-around team effort and really a great team performance."
Midwestern closes invitational play with games against No. 5 Washburn (Kan.) and Texas A&M International Saturday afternoon at Ligon Coliseum. First serves are set for 12:30 and 3 p.m.