Mustangs snap losing skid with 3-2 win over Crimson Storm

Senior outside hitter Hunter Porter totaled a career-high 16 kills while freshman setter Hayden Blair matched a career-best 41 assists to help the Midwestern State volleyball team snap a 10-match losing skid in a 3-2 win (14-25, 25-17, 25-16, 23-25, 15-12) over Southern Nazarene (Okla.) Tuesday night at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.

A Crimson Storm (7-11) run midway through the opening set helped SNU take a 25-14 win. Behind the play of sophomore setter Elyse Berlin, who recorded two kills, one block and one service ace in the run, the Crimson Storm broke open a one-point contest to take a 19-11 advantage before going on to take a 1-0 lead in the match.

Midwestern State (5-14) improved its hitting percentage in the second set, finishing with .324 to even the match at 1-1 following a 25-17 win. Trailing 15-14 after a block by junior middle blocker Kaitlyn Vought and junior outside hitter McKenna Qualls, the Mustangs put together a 7-0 run with kills coming from Porter and freshman middle blocker Kiley Beaver to force a Crimson Storm timeout. The momentum stayed with the home team in the final points as Beaver ended the set with another kill for a 1-1 score heading into halftime.

The Mustangs overcame an early deficit in the third set before taking a 13-12 advantage following a kill by freshman middle blocker Olivia Schiffner. The Crimson Storm hung close for a few points until freshman outside hitter Kelsey Purcell and sophomore middle blocker Addison Semer each recorded two kills apiece to help the Mustangs reel off a 9-2 run to take a 25-16 victory.

In the fourth set, the Crimson Storm jumped out to a 9-3 lead after recording the first four points. A 4-0 spurt by the Maroon and Gold capped off by a kill from Beaver forced a Crimson Storm timeout with the visitors holding a 13-12 advantage. It was point-for-point late in the set before SNU came away with a 25-23 win following a service error and ball handling error by the Mustangs to end the frame.

Kills by Beaver and Semer and an ace by freshman libero Matti Dix helped the Mustangs take a 3-0 lead to begin the deciding fifth set before the Crimson Storm evened it at 4-4. A Semer kill and an ace from junior defensive specialist Madelyn Johnson forced a SNU timeout trailing 10-7. The Crimson Storm pulled within two at 13-11 following a Berlin kill but Schiffner put down a dagger before joining Porter for a block to give the Mustangs a 3-2 victory with a 15-12 win in the fifth.

Semer joined Porter in double-digit kills with 12, hitting a team-best .303 on the night. Dix came one dig shy of her career high with 31, but totaled a career-best four aces to lead the Mustangs.

Junior middle blocker Courtney Bowie led SNU with 11 kills while Vought and Qualls added 10 apiece. Berlin came close to a triple-double, finishing with 38 assists, 21 digs and nine kills.

The Mustangs posted a .147 hitting percentage for the match while SNU tallied a .140 clip.

Midwestern State returns to Lone Star Conference action Friday with a 7 p.m. match against Angelo State at the Junell Center in San Angelo.