Northwest volleyball clinched their third straight MIAA conference victory Sept. 18 over Missouri Western in three sets.
The Bearcats (10-3) had yielded only one victory in the last ten games against the Griffons dating back to the 2013 season. On Tuesday, something clicked.
“It just comes down to ball control,” coach Amy Woerth said. “We really were able to take them out of system and that all started with our serving.”
Northwest had multiple athletes that contributed to Tuesday’s victory including Maddy Bruder’s sixth double-double on the season posting 14 kills and 13 digs. Redshirt freshman Bethany Elkins completed her second straight match with 10 kills and sophomore Maddy Ahrens finished her fifth double-double of the season with 44 assists and 10 digs.
In the opening set of the match, neither team differentiated themselves from the other. Each side of the scoreboard was identical 17 times before a late run turned the tides in the Bearcats favor.
The Griffons were held to a mere .026 hitting percentage by Northwest’s defense and the offense returned the favor by putting up a 14-11 kill advantage. The Bearcats went on to win the set 25-22.
The second set seemed to act like it was gonna be much of the same story until Northwest went on a 13-2 scoring run posting a .300 hit percentage while limiting Western to .095. The Bearcats won the set 25-15 and took a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.
The Griffons jumped out to a quick 13-11 lead in the third set before Northwest went on a 7-2 run of their own and took the 18-15 lead back from Western. The Bearcats ended the set scoring six of the final seven points to take the set and the match 25-20. Senior Sophia Schleppenbach led the set with six kills.
“Sophia had some really big points down the stretch for us,” Woerth said. “She turned it on when we needed her and I thought it was a really big boost for her confidence.”
This win moved the Bearcats record to 11-3 overall and 3-0 in MIAA play.
Northwest will resume action on Sept. 21 in Joplin when they take on Missouri Southern.