Sophomore Sarah Garfield (Holliday HS) erupted for a career-high 22 kills to lead Midwestern State to a 3-2 win over Southern Nazarene on Senior Night Thursday at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.
The Mustangs clawed their way back to win the final three sets 25-14, 31-29 and 15-9 after dropping the opening two frames 25-19 and 25-18 to improve to 8-18 on the season.
MSU plays a crucial Lone Star Conference match Friday night against Cameron at Aggie Gym in Lawton with the winner earning a leg up in the battle for the final spot in the LSC Postseason Tournament.
The Mustangs and Aggies are tied at 3-11 in league play just a half-game behind seventh-place Texas A&M-Commerce (3-10) as the top eight teams advance to the postseason.
The five-set match was the 11th of the season for the Mustangs which matches a school record set in 1992. MSU is 4-7 when taking matches the distance this season.
Midwestern struggled on the attack in the early going hitting .064 in the opening two sets before turning the tide in the third frame.
Garfield, senior Kat Molloy and freshman Angel Summers combined for 10 of MSU's 14 kills in the third set as the Mustangs rolled to a .312 team hitting percentage.
MSU fought off two match points in the fourth set before Garfield, junior Hunter Porter and freshman setter Christy Carruth put down consecutive kills to cinch the fifth set at 31-29.
Garfield proved to be the settling force in the fourth set putting down seven kills as the Mustangs forced Southern Nazarene into 12 attack errors.
MSU rolled out to a 7-2 edge in the decisive set and never allowed the Crimson Storm to creep any closer than five points.
Porter pitched in 13 kills and seven digs, while Molloy closed the evening with 11 kills and 21 digs and Summers added nine kills and five total blocks.
Sophomore defensive specialist Madelyn Johnson had 23 digs to lead back row efforts, while senior Casey Fletcher added 16.
Taylor Jacobs had 13 kills and four total blocks to lead Southern Nazarene which fell to 18-8 on the season.
No. 23-ranked Midwestern State dominated the opening half and had the answer when it needed it the most in a 2-1 win over West Texas A&M Thursday night at The Pitch in Canyon.
"We played some great soccer in the first half," MSU coach Doug Elder said. "I was proud that the defense played strong, but I was a little disappointed with the goal. I felt we were the better team tonight. We are happy to win and keep our playoff chances alive."
Midwestern, which was ranked second in this week's NCAA Division II South Central Region, looks to avenge a loss to Eastern New Mexico when it takes on the Greyhounds Saturday in Portales. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. (local time).
ENMU claimed a 2-1 victory over the Mustangs Monday night in Wichita Falls.
It was a much different story in Canyon as the Mustangs held WT without a shot prior to intermission and drew first blood on junior midfielder Ben Clarvis' first tally of the season.
"Benji overlapped his run and carried the ball 50 yards and buried it behind the keeper," Elder said.
The strike in the eighth minute of the contest held up until WT's Christian Suthers served up the equalizer in the 63rd minute for the Buffs.
West Texas A&M's joy lasted all of about 18 seconds as senior midfielder Andrew Power hit a sprinting Kyle Baccus off the ensuing kickoff.
"Andrew served it through on the kickoff and (Kyle) just buried the first time running through the box," Elder said. "That's how you respond when you give up a goal. They started to press in the end and we were able to create some really good chances but their keeper made some great saves."
The win pulled the Mustangs to within 5-3 in the Highway 287 Challenge Cup series as men's soccer supplied two of the three MSU points.