ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Missouri Baptist women’s volleyball overcame one of its few off nights this season on Tuesday as the team went on to a 3-0 win against Culver-Stockton College.
Missouri Baptist (14-0, 5-0 AMC) seemed to battle itself throughout the match, making some uncharacteristic mistakes. While the team did struggle, it managed to play well enough to tack-on another victory on the same day where the team dropped one spot in the Tachikara-NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 Poll to 17th. MBU still remains one of only six NAIA teams to remain undefeated this season.
The first set was a grind, but the Spartans found a way to win, thanks in part to the play of Taylor Cook. The Lesterville, Mo., native recorded five kills and finished the second set with a .667 attack percentage. Also big in the set for MBU was Ally Krus. The setter posted 12 assists to help lead the team to a 25-20 win.
Though the Spartans were able to execute, they seemed out of sorts all night. “We didn’t pass as well as we would like to tonight, which got us out of our system, but we were still aggressive from the service line and had a good day attacking,” said Associate Head Coach, Chris Nichols. “We were out of our system more than we wanted to be and allowed them to score some points.”
In the second set, Missouri Baptist struggled early, but regained its composure. The Culver-Stockton Wildcats led 7-5 early and, after MBU came back to take the lead, nearly tied the set late with a four-point run to make it a 23-21 MBU lead. The Spartans took the match in the end, 25-22, setting up an interesting third set for the two squads.
After the second intermission, MBU came out like a new team. Two aces by Madeline Nesbit and Taylor Cook at the outset put the Spartans in a better frame of mind. By the time anyone noticed, Missouri Baptist led 7-1 and seemed to be in full control. As the set continued, the Spartans played like a Top 25 team, taking the third set 25-14.
After the match, Nichols said, “A win’s a win and we did what we had to do to get the W, but it wasn’t good enough tonight,” he remarked. “ We just didn’t have the intensity and the floor defense that we needed to.”
Statistically, Taylor Cook led Missouri Baptist, recording a double-double (10 kills, 21 digs) and an astounding five aces. Krus also continued to shine, floating 33 assists in the win.
On the Wildcats’ side, Rosie Wheelock was a clear leader, posting 6 kills and one ace on the night to finish with a .333 attack percentage.
As the team looks forward, the matches will begin to get tougher as the Spartans will begin to see some of the top teams in the NAIA pass through MBU. “We have Park (RV), Columbia (#3) and Grand View (#12) in two weeks,” said Nichols. “That stretch will define what our season is, but our team has played excellent volleyball up to this point.”
Missouri Baptist will be back in action on Thursday when the team travels down the road to St. Louis College of Pharmacy. First serve is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.