The University of Minnesota Morris made quick work of North Central University on Friday night at Jim Gremmels Court, sweeping the Rams, 3-0 (25-10, 25-15, 25-15). The Cougars improve to 11-9 (7-2 UMAC) on the season and move into a tie for second place in the conference.
Minnesota Morris seized control of the first set in the early going. After North Central took a 3-2 lead, the Cougars scored five in a row and 11 of the next 12 points to go on top, 13-4. Kennedy Geller had a pair of kills along with two aces from Jenna Howden to start the run and Lydia Nash took over later with three kills in short order. The Rams could only get as close as 13-6 before UMN Morris took 12 of the final 16 points to close out the set, with Nash getting the final kill to finish it off.
North Central had an 8-7 edge early in the second set before six straight from Minnesota Morris. McKenzie Newton, Geller, and Laura Wellbrock each contributed a kill to the run. Late in the set, with the Cougars leading by a score of 22-15, the home side closed it out with a service error from the visitors, a kill from Geller, and a ball-handling error on the Rams.
Minnesota Morris opened the third set with four points in a row and led by a score of 8-2 when North Central was forced into a timeout. The Rams got as close as three points and made an attempt at staying in it, but the Cougars put the final five points on the board to complete the sweep. Paige Hinze earned Minnesota Morris a side out with a massive kill, followed by two in a row from ShaeAnn Nelson. An attack error gave the Cougars a match point and Sydney Eckhoff scored the final point.
Nash led all players in the match with 11 kills. Wellbrock and Madeline Monaco each ended the night with five kills apiece. Newton had 33 assists on the night. Alyssa Ukestad paced the Cougars with 12 digs.
Tomorrow afternoon, Minnesota Morris will meet the University of Northwestern (19-3, 8-0 UMAC) at Jim Gremmels Court at 1 p.m. in a clash between two of the top programs in the UMAC.