MSU Roundup: Volleyball, Soccer and Football

MSU Roundup: Volleyball, Soccer and Football

Mustangs fall to Colorado Christian in season opener

Strong collegiate debut performances by a freshmen trio were not enough for the Midwestern State volleyball team Friday afternoon as the Mustangs dropped their season opener to Colorado Christian, 3-1 (25-12, 24-26, 25-21, 25-23), at the Oredigger Classic.

Freshman middle blocker Kiley Beaver was the lone Mustang to reach double-digit kills, finishing with 11 on a .423 hitting percentage, and leading the squad with four blocks. Freshman setter Hayden Blair finished with 35 assists, eight digs and four kills in running the MSU offense for the first time. Freshman defensive specialist Matti Dix recorded a team-best 14 digs in her first match wearing the Maroon and Gold.

In the first set, Colorado Christian opened up with an 8-1 run before going on to record a 25-12 win. The Cougars hit .407 for the set and limited the Mustangs to just a .037 attack percentage.

Midwestern settled in during the second set as a back-and-forth battle took place with neither team able to gain more than a three-point cushion.

Trailing 22-19, a kill by senior outside hitter Hunter Porter sparked a 4-1 run to knot the set at 23-all. The Mustangs were able to close it out after a CCU attack error and a kill by Beaver gave the Mustangs a 26-24 second set win. For the set, Midwestern hit .372 with 19 kills and just three attack errors.

In the third set, three-straight kills for the Mustangs allowed them to open up an 11-7 cushion. However, the Cougars evened up the match before putting together a 7-1 spurt to take a 23-17 lead in the frame.

An ace by junior libero Madelyn Johnson pulled the Mustangs back within three at 24-21 but CCU ended the set off a kill by Connie Olson to take a 25-21 victory and 2-1 lead in the match.

Despite hitting just .027 in the fourth, the Mustangs were able to hang close to CCU through most of the set.

After the Cougars stretched their lead to five, the Mustangs mounted a 6-2 run to pull within 22-21. However, the Mustangs were not able to complete the comeback with Taylor Sturms capping off a 25-23 fourth set win for CCU to take the match.

Sturms led the Cougars with a double-double with 19 kills and 22 digs while Abby Bartalo paced CCU with 26 assists.

The Mustangs return to the court tonight for their second match of the Oredigger Classic vs. Pace (N.Y.) at 6:30 p.m.

Mustangs collect first win of the season against Pace

Behind double-double performances from sophomore outside hitter Meghan Bettis and freshman setter Hayden Blair, the Midwestern State volleyball team posted their first victory of the season Friday evening with a 3-1 (19-25, 25-21, 26-24, 25-21) win over Pace (N.Y.) at the Oredigger Classic.

After suffering a 3-1 defeat in the season opener to Colorado Christian earlier in the day, Bettis and Blair helped the Mustangs (1-1) avoid a second defeat on day one. Bettis recorded a team-best 16 kills while adding 13 digs to her stat sheet, and Blair dished out 41 assists and finished with 18 digs to wrap up her first day of collegiate competition.

"Once we got over the nerves and started to settle into a rhythm, the training they've put in really started to show," said head coach Natalie Rawson. "It was a great first day - first loss and first win. We learned a lot from both. This is just the beginning of our journey."

Pace (0-2) claimed a 25-19 first set win due to a late 8-0 run that put the Setters up 22-15 on the Mustangs. Pace's Kathleen Benson and Mira Wallace sparked the Setters rally with Benson recording three blocks, one solo, and Wallace teaming up with her on two blocks.

In the second set, the Setters jumped out to a 6-1 lead before kills by Bettis and freshman middle blocker Kiley Beaver helped the Mustangs pull within one.

A ball handling error on Pace gave Midwestern its first lead of the set at 19-18. Bettis then paced the Mustangs in the final stretch, recording three kills while Beaver rejected Pace's Samantha Marquez to cap off a 25-21 second set victory.

The Setters came out firing at the beginning of the third, taking a 10-4 advantage before a Bettis kill allowed MSU to stage an 8-1 spurt to move in front at 12-11. The teams were neck-and-neck the remainder of the set before a kill by Bettis and a Pace attack error gave the Mustangs a 26-24 victory to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

In the fourth, Pace began to pull away midway through the frame by taking a 16-12 advantage. However, a kill by Blair began an 8-0 run with the Mustangs receiving contributions from Bettis, junior outside hitter Cody Moore and sophomore outside hitter/middle blocker Addison Semer.

The Setters were unable to even up the match again as a kill by Blair gave the Mustangs a 25-21 set win to end the match.

Beaver finished with nine kills and six blocks while Semer added eight kills and seven blocks for MSU. Junior libero Madelyn Johnson recorded a team-high 20 digs to lead the Mustangs defensively.

Midwestern will take on Minnesota State-Moorhead in an 11 a.m. match tomorrow before concluding the Oredigger Classic against host and eighth-ranked Colorado Mines at 3 p.m.

No. 20 Mustangs win opener over Fort Lewis, 3-1

After a scoreless first half, the offense came alive for the 20th-ranked Midwestern State men's soccer team in the second period as they recorded a 3-1 season-opening victory over Fort Lewis in front of 1,187 fans Friday night at the MSU Soccer Field.

The win broke a two-game losing skid to Fort Lewis after falling to the Skyhawks in the season openers of the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

"I think we played good enough to win," said head coach Doug Elder. "In the first half, we established our dominance. We created 20 shots against a quality team that's known for their skill and technical abilities. I was pleased with our performance. The guys played well."

Playing his first game as a Mustang, junior midfielder Flavio Guzman broke a scoreless contest in the 53rd minute with a shot from the top of the box to put MSU up 1-0 on the visitors.

Just five minutes later, Midwestern struck again to extend their lead to 2-0. Senior forward Albert Rodriguez fired a rocket from 35 yards out off a pass from senior midfielder Juan Farres for the Mustangs' second goal of the night.

Fort Lewis cut the Midwestern lead in half in the 64th minute with a goal by freshman midfielder Laurin Weiland from 25 yards out to make it 2-1.

With the Skyhawks pressuring to even up the contest, the Mustangs sealed the victory in the 88th minute with Rodriguez finding junior midfielder Gabriel Cavalcante to put MSU up 3-1.

On a breakaway, Cavalcante received a pass from Rodriguez on the left side of the box before sending it into the net for the Mustangs' final score of the game.

The teams played a physical first half with a combined 22 fouls. The Mustangs took 10 shots during the period compared to just two for the Skyhawks.

Fort Lewis earned its best scoring opportunity of the period in the 37th minute as a header by Yannis Becker was denied with a spectacular save by MSU junior goalkeeper Noah Fazekas.

With six minutes remaining in the first period, a header from senior defender Call Casarez off a free kick from Guzman almost put the Mustangs on top but FLC goalkeeper Ryan Schaul kept MSU off the scoreboard.

Midwestern led 20-5 in shots and 8-2 in shots on goal. Rodriguez paced the Mustangs with five shots, two being on target. Fazekas earned the win for MSU, playing all 90 minutes between the posts.

The Mustangs will continue their homestand Sunday when they play host to No. 4 Colorado Mesa with a noon contest at MSU Soccer Field.