WICHITA FALLS, TX (RNN Texoma) -
Senior Alex Mullet scored twice to give No. 7 Midwestern State its third-straight North Division title in the Heartland Conference as the Mustangs thumped the Hillcats, 4-1, at Soldier Field in Claremore, Okla.
The Mustangs hold a three-point lead on West Texas A&M in the overall conference standings going into the final weekend of the regular season. MSU meets Dallas Baptist on the road before hosting Oklahoma Christian in the regular season-finale while the Buffs host UTPB and travel to Eastern New Mexico.
Erwin Regules and Hikaruhito Meike each added their second goal of the season as MSU Texas fired 17 shots, including seven on frame.
Defensively, the back line of Kristian Martinez, Rory O’Keeffe, Nathan Clark Koby Sapon-Amoah and keeper Taylor Lampe held the Hillcats to just five shots and one on goal in the contest.
Despite the dominance, MSU Texas fell behind early. RSU’s Chris Sowder hit a shot in the fourth minute of play, firing inside the left post to break the scoring seal.
After being unable to capitalize on any of the first six shots or four corner kicks, Mullet struck gold in the 41st minute to draw even. Meike found the senior captain on the free ball when the Edmond, Okla., native buried the shot in the box.
Regules staked the Mustangs the lead for good 11 minutes into the second half. The junior capitalized on the counter attack for his second goal of the year.
Meike added an insurance goal on a free kick in the 70th minute, hitting the right corner of the goal to stretch the MSU Texas lead to 3-1.
Mullet finalized the score line with his second goal in the 86th minute, beating RSU keeper Jazz Dhaliwal from the left side of the box.
In a match that featured 25 ties and 11 lead changes, Midwestern State recorded 16 blocks in a 3-0 (26-24, 25-23, 27-25) loss to UT Permian Basin on Saturday at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.
The 16 blocks by the Mustangs matched the second-most in program history and fifth-most in an NCAA Division II three-set match this season. Junior Sarah Eakin set a career-high with the fifth-most blocks in a three-set match, tallying eight rejections including four of the solo variety.
Eakin, freshman Taylor Anderson and Lauren Honeycutt along with sophomore Raven Presley combined for eight solo blocks and Anderson, Eakin and Honeycutt each added four assisted blocks to anchor the Mustangs.
Despite the brick wall put up by the defense, the Maroon and Gold struggled offensively, hitting -.024 with 32 attack errors.
Junior Erin Richburg eclipsed double-digit kills for the 10th time this season, putting down a match-high 10. Sophomore Raven Presley added seven for MSU Texas with a team-best .045 hitting percentage.
Sophomore Sarah Glawe notched her fifth double-double of the season, handing out 25 assists and 12 digs while freshman Samantha Manio led MSU with 16 digs.
UTPB’s Travana Matthews and Aquincia Strambler each put down 10 kills to pace the Falcons.
All three sets were tightly contested. The Mustangs and Falcons battled to a dead-heat at 24-all in the opening frame before an error and a kill from Analise Lucio gave UTPB a 1-0 edge in the match, 26-24.
MSU Texas appeared poised to draw even in the second set, racing out to an 8-3 advantage. After a pair of timeouts from UTPB, the Falcons eventually pulled even at 17-all and taking the lead for good, up 21-20.
Much like the second set, MSU paced itself to an 8-2 lead before a pair of early timeouts allowed the Falcons to regain composure. Neither side led by more than three in the final frame. Down 24-21 and facing match point, the Mustangs stormed back to draw even at 24 and take the lead, 25-24. UTPB closed the match on a 3-0 run to complete the sweep.