It was one of those nights for the Midwestern State volleyball team on Tuesday. After a close first set against No. 12 West Texas A&M, the Mustangs were dominated by the Lady Buffs as they fell in straight sets at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.
MSU would be without points leader Miranda Byrd in the 25-22, 25-10, 25-12 loss. The senior was sidelined with an injury against Texas A&M-Kingsville, taking 253 kills and 82 blocks this season off the court.
Byrd’s absence wouldn’t be obvious on the scoreboard through the first set as the Mustangs and Lady Buffs battled to 11 ties.
The set would already see it’s seventh tie when a Stormi Lancaster kill knotted the score at 9-9. MSU would respond with a 5-1 run sparked by a Shelbi Stewart kill, giving the Mustangs the biggest lead of the set by either team at 14-10.
WTAM would claw back, tying the set at 18-18 on a Lancaster kill and an MSU attack error. The Mustangs would twice grab the lead back only to have the Lady Buffs tie the set again before back-to-back kills from Erin Dougherty gave WTAM a 22-20 lead.
Hillary White and Brandi Flores would even the score at 22-22, but Dougherty would provide a kill and two service points to nail down the 25-22 win for the Lady Buffs.
West Texas A&M took command from there, leaving little doubt in the final two sets.
A pair of Caitlin Wallace kills and a kill by White were the only thing interrupting a 17-3 run by the Lady Buffs to open the second set. The Mustangs were their own worst enemy at times, giving WTAM six points on attack errors during the stretch.
The Mustangs would try to fight back with a 6-1 run of their own sparked by two Katie Bertling kills and a White service ace. The run would prove to be far too little too late as the Lady Buffs came back with a another 6-0 run to give them set point at 24-9.
An attack error on WTAM would delay the inevitable, but Lancaster would finally drive home the winning point and give the Lady Buffs a 25-10 set win.
Wallace would draw first blood in the third set as MSU jumped out to a 3-0 lead. WTAM would punch right back to tie things at 3-3 with kills from Sarah Martin, Lancaster, and Dougherty as Lacy Hayes continued to provide the bulk of assists.
The Mustangs would recapture the lead and build to a 9-7 advantage before things began to unravel.
An MSU service error was followed by four straight attack errors as the Mustangs handed WTAM a 12-9 lead. After a Lady Buffs service error, three more attack errors by MSU sandwiched between kills from Erika Dupree, Martin, and Dougherty completed a 12-1 run for WTAM.
The 19-10 deficit would be too much for the Mustangs to overcome. Ashley Davis would provide the winner as the Lady Buffs took the set 25-12 and the match 3-0.
Three Lady Buffs would reach double digits in kills, led by Lancaster and Davis with 11 each and followed by Martin with 10. Hayes put in a match high 35 assists and also led the Lady Buffs with 14 digs. Dougherty led both teams with nine blocks.
White would lead the Mustangs with nine kills in the match. Kristan Aduddell recorded 15 assists, followed closely by Kimberly Jeffrey with 12. Kiara Jordan came up with a match high 16 digs.
West Texas A&M would turn in a whopping .370 team attack percentage, with Dougherty (.692) and Davis (.526) both over .500.
Meanwhile, the Lady Buffs defense held MSU to an .060 team attack percentage, with White leading the primary players at .143.
West Texas A&M improves to 25-2 overall and 15-1 in conference play with the victory.
Midwestern State falls to 15-10 overall and 7-9 in the conference.
MSU wraps up their four game home stand on October 27 with a non-conference match against Dallas Baptist. First serve at D.L. Ligon Coliseum is set for 7:00 p.m.