Shelbi Stewart led a balanced attack and Kristan Aduddell turned in a double-double as the Midwestern State volleyball team ended a five game losing streak Friday morning. The Mustangs opened the Pittsburg State Regional Challenge in Pittsburg, Kansas with a 3-1 win over Northwest Missouri State.
Eight different Mustangs would record at least one kill in the match, with six turning in five or more kills including a team leading 11 from Stewart. Meanwhile, the MSU defense held Northwest Missouri to an .084 attack percentage.
Kristan Aduddell continues to play well in her freshman season, recording her second consecutive double-double and third of the year. Aduddell added 11 digs to a team leading 27 assists on Friday morning.
MSU would take the first set, but a young Bearcats team would make them work for it as Northwest Missouri jumped out to a 4-0 lead.
Kills from Miranda Byrd and Aduddell would help knot the score at 5-5, but Northwest Missouri prevented the Mustangs from grabbing the lead until a Hillary White kill gave MSU a 12-11 advantage.
Northwest would reclaim the lead at 14-13 on back-to-back kills from Amy Majors and Whitney Mason, but Midwestern kept the Bearcats within reach until they took over the set.
Caitlin Wallace tied the score 16-16 to give the serve to Katie Bertling. Seven straight service points from Bertling, including two aces and a kill from the freshman gave MSU a 23-16 advantage.
A kill from Mason would end the streak, but the Mustangs would get set point from Wallace before Stewart secured the 25-18 win.
The second set was another close battle as the teams traded one to two point leads back and forth. Northwest Missouri would look to take control when a Tori Beckman kill gave them a 16-13 lead, but the Mustangs would come back on another long service from Bertling.
Five service points from Bertling capped by a Brandi Flores kill gave MSU a 20-17 lead. However, the Bearcats bounced back on kills from Brooke Bartosh and Majors to reclaim the lead at 21-20 as play beyond 25 points began to look inevitable.
The Bearcats would have set point on a service ace from Beckman, but a Byrd kill and a service point from Kiara Jordan would tie the score 24-24 and guarantee extended play.
MSU would reach set point twice only to have the Bearcats fight back and eventually grab a 27-26 advantage on a Mason kill. Northwest would take the set win on an MSU attack error and knot the match 1-1.
Northwest Missouri would again jump out to an early lead in the third set only to have MSU battle back on the power of a Flores service ace and two White kills to take a 4-3 lead. The teams stayed evenly matched until the score was tied 13-13 and the Mustangs took control.
Six consecutive errors on the Bearcats handed MSU a 19-13 advantage.
The Bearcats would come up with two more points before kills from Byrd, White, and Bertling helped finish the set off to give the Mustangs a 25-15 win.
The story would be much the same in the fourth set as a back and forth battle would start to lean Midwestern’s way.
A streak of four service points with two aces from Aduddell turned a 10-9 Bearcats lead into a 13-10 MSU advantage. Northwest would fight back to tie the set at 13-13, but a pair of kills from Stewart and a Jordan service ace would help build an 18-14 Mustangs lead.
The Bearcats never fully recovered from the four point disadvantage, but did pull to within two on back-to-back kills from Laira Akin. Attack errors on the Bearcats and a Stewart kill gave the Mustangs match point at 24-20. Aduddell would ice the game with a service ace, giving MSU a 25-20 set win and a 3-1 match victory.
Four Mustangs would hit double digits in digs for the match, led by White with 28. Along with Aduddell’s 11, Jordan would turn in 17 digs and Flores would record 14. Wallace would lead the team with six blocks.
Abby Graves would lead the Bearcats with nine kills, while Akin turned in a game leading 32 assists. Beckman came up with 20 digs and Majors led the Bearcats with five blocks.
The Mustangs take the court again at 5 p.m. on Friday when they take on Newman for the second match of the tournament. MSU wraps up their part in the Pittsburg State Classic on Saturday with games against St. Mary’s and Missouri Southern State.