No. 15 West Texas A&M proved too big at the net, sending Midwestern State to a 25-17, 25-17, 25-16 loss in the Lone Star Conference opener Tuesday night at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.
The Mustangs dropped to 7-2 on the season, while the Lady Buffs improved to 7-3. MSU continues a challenging week with games at No. 9 Angelo State and Tarleton State on Friday and Saturday.
WT senior Laura Iwuchukwu had a hand in 11 of the Lady Buffs 13 total blocks as Midwestern struggled its way to 30 errors and failed to hold a lead at any point of the match.
Iwuchukwu rounded out a double-double with an impressive 10 kills with two errors, while sophomore Lexi Davis gave the Mustangs a fit in the middle with nine kills and one error.
Senior middle blocker Caitlin Wallace put in a solid performance with nine kills and two errors in 17 attempts (.412) to go along with five blocks, while senior middle blocker Michelle Blount put down seven kills with a single miscue in 12 attacks (.500) over the final two sets of play.
Redshirt freshman Madelyn Johnson paced the back row with 10 digs, while sophomore Nicole Marzik logged seven digs in her first appearance of the season.
Freshman Sarah Rosinke finished with 14 assists and four digs while fellow setter Marija Jovanovic had 12 assists with six digs.
Midwestern State and West Texas A&M tipped off the beginning of an institutional competition between the two schools Tuesday night at D.L. Ligon Coliseum in a series known as the First United Bank Highway 287 Challenge Cup.
"The communities of Wichita Falls and Canyon as well as both campuses see a challenging and highly competitive rivalry which has a great impact not only in the Lone Star Conference but all across the Division II landscape," MSU Athletic Director Charlie Carr said. "Natural rivalries in each sport have grown over the past few years making the Challenge Cup a visible symbol of excellence for both WT and MSU."
The point-based competition continues throughout the 2013-14 academic year with points awarded for every win between the two athletic programs.
Each victory in the regular season and championships for the sports of volleyball, football, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's basketball and softball contribute to the point total as well as the LSC Championship events for cross country, and men's and women's golf.
Competition between the schools dates back to Midwestern's transformation to a four-year institution in the late 1940s. The Mustangs and Buffs have met 60 times on the hardwood and play for the 27th time on the gridiron in November.
The noted rivals produced numerous memorable moments in recent years battling for conference and regional championships in football, soccer, softball, basketball and cross country.
Midwestern State is pleased to partner with West Texas A&M and First United Bank to bring this year-long focus on the excellence, sportsmanship and successes of the student-athletes and coaches of these two programs.
Midwestern State freshman Sierra Campbell shot an even-par 72 to help the Mustangs place fifth as a team in the strong Concho River Classic hosted by Angelo State.
MSU tallied a score of 304 in the final round to finish at 611 for the tournament.
"I though we played really well as a team," said MSU coach Jeff Ray. "This tournament has a strong field and we were right there with them."
Campbell, a true freshman from Rio Rancho, N.M., playing in her first collegiate tournament, put her second round 72 with yesterday's 73 for a 1-over-par 145 to place fourth in the tournament.
She finished four strokes behind West Texas A&M's Glory Jangthongsiri who claimed medalist honors with a 3-under 141. Newman's Kendall Anderson was second at 2-under 142 and Cameron's Jacqueline Strickland was third at even-par 144.
"I can't tell you how impressed I am with the play of Sierra Campbell," said Ray. "She was outstanding during this tournament."
Joining Campbell in the top 10 was junior Brenna Moore of Burkburnett. Moore posted a 2-over 74 in the final round to finish in a ninth place tie at 6-over 150.
Freshman Hayley Dambold added a second 77 for a two-round total of 154, while freshman Kellie Martin shot an 83 for a 164. Sophomore Kynze Mann shot an 81 to finish at 167.
Playing as an individual, Madison Smith scored a second 82 to finish at 164 as well.
St. Edward's won the tournament with at 596, two strokes ahead of Newman (Kan.) at 598 and a tie at third between Cameron and Tarleton State at 603.
The MSU women don't play again until Oct. 7 and 8 when they play in the Lady Buff Stampede.