SUPERIOR, Wis. – The University of Minnesota Morris volleyball team took a two-set lead on Saturday at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, but saw the Yellowjackets claw their way back and win in five sets (25-21, 27-25, 14-25, 21-25, 10-15). The Cougars wrap up the regular season at 14-13 (10-4 UMAC) and will host UW-Superior in a rematch on Wednesday in the UMAC semifinals.
The first set was decided by a pair of big runs from the Cougars. Down 1-0, Minnesota Morris scored the next eight points to establish an early cushion. Later on, Jenna Howden had a pair of aces in a five-point run that took an 11-9 lead up to 16-9. UW-Superior got as close as two points down the stretch, but the Cougars handled things to take an early lead.
The Yellowjackets looked primed to knot the match at 1-1 after taking a 24-21 lead late in the second set, but Minnesota Morris fought off the set points with a block from Laura Wellbrock and Kennedy Geller, followed by two straight kills from Wellbrock and a kill from Geller to give the Cougars a 25-24 lead. After UW-Superior tied things at 25-25, Geller had another kill to put the Cougars ahead and a kill from Wellbrock ended it to give UMN Morris a 2-0 advantage.
The third set was one-sided from the start as UW-Superior scored the first five points and the Cougars never got closer than two. Despite trailing from the start, Minnesota Morris tried to hang in it, but after pulling within four at 18-14, the Yellowjackets reeled off the final seven points to close out the set.
The momentum continued to favor UW-Superior in the fourth set as the Yellowjackets went ahead by double-digits at 21-11. The score was still 23-14 when Minnesota Morris was able to tighten things up with six straight points to make it 23-20. UW-Superior held on from there, scoring two of the next three points to close it out and force a fifth and deciding set.
In the fifth, UW-Superior scored the first two points of the set and never trailed, despite Minnesota Morris pulling even with the Yellowjackets at 5-5. Trailing 13-8, the Cougars got kills from Brooke Christensen and Howden to make it 13-10, but a service error and a kill from Alexie Pryd ended it.
Wellbrock ended with a double-double and tied for the match high with 18 kills along with 17 digs. Howden finished with eight kills, while Christensen, Sydney Sommers, and McKenzie Newton all had five. Newton also had 32 assists and nine digs, while Alyssa Ukestad had 30 digs and six assists. Also hitting double-digits for digs in match were Sydney Eckhoff with 15 and Sommers with 10.
Minnesota Morris will host the Yellowjackets on Wednesday night at Jim Gremmels Court starting at 7 p.m.