WICHITA FALLS — Using an entirely new lineup, TWU put together a strong outing Friday night to sweep Midwestern State 25-13, 30-28, 25-18.
Senior Caroline Noel led all players with a season-high 11 kills. Freshman Addison Mulroney also paced the Pioneers’ offense by adding nine kills. TWU continued to spread the attack with senior Courtney Noel notching eight kills followed by junior Tabitha Spray with seven. Sophomore Trixie Oche put down six kills with no errors on nine attempts for a .667 hitting percentage.
Because of injuries, TWU had players slotted in positions they normally don’t play, and spent the past week fine tuning a new look.
“We were completely unscouted going into the match because of this entirely new lineup,” Huebner explained. “Our serve receive was great. We had zero passing errors. All of our passers did a phenomenal job which we were working on all week. It was so critical for them to pass well in the new offense. Add that to the way that we served, keeping MSU out of system, and we ended up hitting so well.”
The first set was an extremely efficient performance with TWU hitting .423 on 14 kills with three errors on 26 attempts. MSU managed to hit flat at .000 with the Pioneers capitalizing on Mustang mistakes.
TWU broke out on a six-point run to make it 15-3 and built a 13-point lead before closing out the set with a Caroline Noel kill to make it 25-13.
The second set had a different energy with MSU playing scrappy volleyball and keeping TWU on its heels. With the score tied seven times, the Mustangs improved on their attack, kept digging on long rallies, and had three set points on the Pioneers. Then they faltered with a service error, were blocked by Courtney Noel and senior Katy Ranes, and had a ball handling error for TWU to claim the frame, 30-28.
“We’ve been really focused on paying less attention to the scoreboard and more to our 900 square feet,” Huebner said. “We gave up the momentum a little bit but we did a really great job of understanding that we needed to stay the course which we did to prevail.”
In Set 3, TWU (13-12, 9-6 Lone Star) found its rhythm again and built a nine-point lead at 22-13 on a combination of MSU errors, a kill down the line from Caroline Noel, and a Spray smash on the left side. Winning 25-18 on a Mustang serve that went long, the Pioneers recorded 14 kills with only two errors on 39 attempts for a .308 hitting percentage.
The victory comes at an important time as it snaps a two-game losing streak and keeps the Pioneers in third place in their division with three LSC matches remaining in the regular season.
“This win is a credit to how hard we worked this week,” Huebner said. “I’m proud of our kids and the good leadership and how important they knew we had to be locked in. We have to do it again tomorrow which means it really is the hardest weekend in the year because we’re playing Midwestern again.”
TWU will host MSU (7-18, 4-11 LSC) tomorrow in Magee Arena for the second half of this home-and-home series with first serve at 1 p.m.