MSU Volleyball Drops Final Two Games In Arkansas

Mustangs fall to Ouachita Baptist in tournament finale

Behind a .375 attack percentage and just six hitting errors, Ouachita Baptist (Ark.) spoiled the Midwestern State volleyball team's final game of the Arkansas Tech Tournament with a 3-0 victory (25-22, 28-26, 27-25) Saturday afternoon.

Sophomore outside hitter Meghan Bettis led the Mustangs (4-6) with a season-best 18 kills and a .378 hitting percentage. Senior outside hitter Hunter Porter added 14 kills for the Maroon and Gold, committing just one error for a .433 clip, while freshman middle blocker Kiley Beaver hit a team-best .474 with 11 kills.

After the Tigers (4-2) took a 9-6 lead in the first set, the Mustangs closed the gap and claimed an 11-10 advantage following a kill from Bettis.

It was point-for-point the remainder of the set until a kill by OBU senior right side hitter Abby Pickett recorded the first of three-straight points for the Tigers to take a 23-20 lead. Bettis answered with back-to-back kills for the Mustangs but the Tigers were able to finish out the set, 25-22.

Midwestern opened the second on a 4-0 run with kills from Bettis and Beaver. Junior defensive specialist Madelyn Johnson capped off the quick spurt with a service ace to give the Mustangs the early advantage.

The Tigers clawed back as a kill from sophomore middle blocker Caitlin Cantrell knotted the set at 10-all.

Back-to-back aces from Johnson helped ignite another MSU run, taking a 17-12 lead after a block by Bettis and Beaver.

Attacking errors by the Mustangs helped bring the Tigers back in the game, eventually going on top 20-19.

Pickett recorded kills to fend off two MSU set points before two Midwestern errors and a kill from sophomore middle blocker Kori Bullard gave the Tigers a 28-26 set win.

The Tigers took an early 7-3 lead in the third set before an ace by Bettis pulled the Mustangs back within one at 8-7.

OBU held a slight lead throughout a majority of the set until two kills from Porter and an attack error by the Tigers made it a one-point game in favor of OBU at 20-19.

A kill from Johnson sandwiched between two Bettis kills gave the Mustangs their first lead of the frame at 23-22. However, for the second-straight set, the Tigers were able to hold off a few Midwestern set points as OBU rallied for a 27-25 third set victory to earn the sweep.

Johnson paced the Mustangs with four service aces as the Mustangs matched their season-best with nine. Johnson also added 10 digs for Midwestern while freshman libero Matti Dix totaled a team-high 14.

Freshman setter Hayden Blair led the MSU offense with 38 assists.

Pickett led the Tigers with 16 kills, committing just one error for a .682 hitting percentage.

Midwestern opens up Lone Star Conference play next Saturday with a 2 p.m. road contest at Texas A&M-Kingsville.

Mustangs rally falls short against Newman, 3-1

A season-high 15-kill performance from senior outside hitter Hunter Porter was not enough for the Midwestern State volleyball team in their first match of the day Saturday as the Mustangs dropped a 3-1 decision (25-18, 19-25, 25-22, 25-15) to Newman (Kan.) at the Arkansas Tech Tournament.

The Jets (5-4), coached the previous two seasons by current Midwestern State head coach Natalie Rawson, were led by senior middle hitter Ashley Gonzalez, who finished with 21 kills on a .594 hitting percentage.

Newman jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the first set before the Mustangs (4-5) pulled back within one after a kill from freshman middle blocker Kiley Beaver.

Midwestern continued to find its rhythm, forcing a Newman timeout after a Porter kill that gave the Mustangs their first lead at 11-10.

Blocks and MSU attacking errors helped the Jets retake the lead and surge ahead to 21-14 before going to take a 25-18 first set win.

The Mustangs hit .293 in the second set to claim a 25-19 victory. Midwestern spread the offense around the court, building an early five-point lead at 12-7 following a kill from Porter.

After Newman made it a two-point contest, the Mustangs put together a 6-2 run with kills from Porter and sophomore outside hitters Meghan Bettis and Addison Semer to help Midwestern even the match at 1-1.

In the third set, the Mustangs took a 17-16 lead before back-to-back attack errors forced a Midwestern timeout.

Kills from Gonzalez helped the Jets stay in front before a kill from sophomore middle hitter Emily Harvey gave Newman a 25-22 third set victory to go up 2-1 in the match.

A 9-2 run by Newman broke an 8-8 tie to put the Jets in control at 17-10 in the fourth set. The Mustangs were unable to mount a comeback to force a fifth set as Newman came away with a 25-15 victory to win 3-1.

Freshman setter Hayden Blair recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 37 assists and 15 digs while freshman libero Matti Dix led the Mustangs with 20 digs, her third 20-plus dig performance on the season. Beaver joined Porter in double-digit kills with 10.

The Mustangs close out the Arkansas Tech Tournament at 1 p.m. against Ouachita Baptist (Ark.)