WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Midwestern State used a balanced offensive attack to claim its Lone Star Conference opener with a 3-0 sweep (25-19, 25-23, 25-16) of UT Permian Basin Friday evening at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.
The win is the first LSC victory for MSU since defeating Texas A&M-Commerce on October 24, 2014.
In the first set, Midwestern State (5-4, 1-0 LSC) raced out to an 8-4 lead after back-to-back aces from junior right side hitter Sarah Garfield to force an early timeout for the Falcons. The Mustangs continued to maintain a comfortable lead on UT Permian Basin (4-6, 0-1 LSC) with freshman outside hitter Erin Richburg registering four of her career-best nine kills for the match in the set to help MSU record a 25-19 win.
UTPB jumped ahead 5-1 in the second set before the Mustangs rallied with a 3-0 spurt to even the frame at seven apiece. The Falcons used a 4-1 run to break a 12-12 tie and grab a three-point advantage on the Mustangs. Midwestern continued to fight back, erasing a two-point deficit with back-to-back kills from junior middle blocker Addison Semer for a 19-all score. It was point-for-point in the frame until a kill for junior outside hitter Meghan Bettis and a UTPB attack error clinched the set for the Mustangs, 25-23.
The Falcons looked to be in control midway through the third set, taking as much as a four-point lead on the Mustangs after three-straight blocks for the visitors for a 13-9 score. Midwestern inched closer to UTPB with kills from Richburg, Bettis and sophomore middle blocker Kiley Beaver to force a timeout after evening the set at 14. It was all MSU the rest of the way as the Mustangs closed out the frame on a 9-2 run to earn the sweep.
"I'm proud of how aggressive we came out and how consistent we were with tough serves," said head coach Natalie Rawson. "At times, we fell behind because of too many back-to-back errors but it's the risk we're still willing to take at this point. We were consistent and that's what we were shooting for. I loved the energy of the bench and the relentlessness on the court tonight."
Midwestern State continues its home stand Saturday at 5 p.m. as the Mustangs host West Texas A&M at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.