Texas Woman’s swept Midwestern State 25-14, 25-23, 26-24 in the second leg of this weekend’s home-and-home series behind a balanced attack from a relatively new lineup.
Senior Caroline Noel led the Pioneers with nine kills and hit an efficient .692. Junior Tabitha Spray also finished with eight kills, three blocks and a team-high 21 digs.
Senior setter Katy Ranes led all players with 18 assists, leaving her five assists away from reaching 3,700 career assists. Redshirt freshman Bailey Wozniak also had a strong outing with nine assists and seven kills while hitting .500.
“I thought that the toughness from our kids was really good,” Huebner said. “One of our late mantras has been ‘You have to play the same regardless of what the score says’. We’re trying to get our eyes off the scoreboard, and two days in a row that’s been really effective for us.”
After finishing the first set with just three attack errors, the Pioneers committed an additional 10 errors in the final two sets. The Mustangs even outhit the Pioneers .301 to .272 in the match, but TWU found a way to win behind an effective serve-receive performance.
The Pioneers served .918 and received .971 while finishing with an astounding 10 aces.
“We did get outhit, but not by a lot,” coach Jeff Huebner said. “Ultimately, it just came down to how tough we served the ball. We served better than them and received significantly better than them, and I think that most coaches would tell you that volleyball is won in serve and pass.”
After TWU (14-12, 10-6) cruised to a 25-14 victory in the opening set, the Mustangs would challenge the Pioneers from that point on. During the second set, the two teams tied 11 times and traded four lead changes.
MSU (7-19, 4-12) would go on to outhit TWU in the set with a .429 hitting percentage. However, the Pioneers won the second set 25-23 and finished with four more kills than the Mustangs. Once again, that stellar serve-receive performance limited the amount of swings the Mustangs attempted.
In the third and final set, TWU found themselves down 24-23 with the Mustangs holding set point, but the Pioneers wouldn’t be denied.
Noel put her ninth kill in between the lines before an MSU error and an ace from senior Maggie Pyles gave the Pioneers a thrilling 26-24 victory to cap off the weekend.
The Pioneers travel to Stephenville on Tuesday to take on the Texans at 7:15 p.m.