PELLA, Iowa – The University of Minnesota Morris volleyball team split a pair of matches on Friday in the first day of a two-day, two-site tournament hosted by Central College and Grinnell College. The Cougars came away with a 3-1 victory (23-25, 25-8, 25-19, 29-27) over Simpson College before falling to Central, 3-0 (23-25, 17-25, 19-25) in the next match.
Minnesota Morris finishes the tournament at Grinnell tomorrow. First up is a 1 p.m. match against Dominican University. The Cougars will then take on Grinnell at 3 p.m.
Minnesota Morris 3, Simpson 1
The Cougars found themselves down a set after a slow start offensively, but picked things up considerably after that and took the Storm down in four sets. Simpson did itself not favors, committing 32 attack errors and ending with a .000 hitting percentage as a team.
McKenzie Newton nearly had a triple-double in the match, ending with eight kills, 25 assists, and 12 digs. Her .471 hitting percentage led the team and she added three block assists as well.
Senior Alyssa Ukestad had a top-10 performance in program history, serving up eight aces and registering a match-high 19 digs.
Central 3, Minnesota Morris 0
Back in action right away after completing the win over Simpson, Minnesota Morris was unable to keep up with a Central squad playing its first match of the night. The Dutch had 14 kills in all three sets and the Cougars totaled up 22 attack errors in the match to help Central get across the finish line.
The first set was the closest of the match, with Minnesota Morris leading much of the way, including a run of four straight points to take a 15-11 lead midway through. The final tie of the set came at 23-23 on a kill from Lydia Nash, but the final two points went Central’s way for the home side to take a 1-0 edge.
Minnesota Morris attempted to work its way back throughout the second set but could never pull even after a five-point run for Central gave the Dutch a 10-5 lead. The Cougars were within three points on multiple occasions, but six of the last seven points of the set went to Central for a 25-17 win.
After trailing early on in the third set, the Cougars came back to take a 16-14 lead midway through. Central responded by taking six of the next seven points and Minnesota Morris fell after that. The Dutch closed it out with the final four points to make the score 25-19.
Wellbrock led UMN Morris with eight kills and Jones added seven. Both Newton and Ukestad had nine digs, with Newton dishing out 18 assists. Abbie Higley aced the Dutch on three occasions.