ST. LOUIS, Mo. – women's volleyball continued its win streak on Monday evening…twice. After beating the undefeated Williams Baptist College Eagles in straight sets in the first match, MBU was forced to mount a comeback from a 0-1 deficit in match two to collect its eighth victory of the year.
No. 14 Missouri Baptist (8-0, 3-0 AMC) entered the evening as the favorite, though the Eagles were 9-0 on the season. That all changed as the Spartans looked dominant at times.
MBU began the first match with a quick 25-16 win, but the Eagles seemed to be up to the challenge in the second set. Coming down the stretch, the score was close, but the Spartans took a late 23-22 lead and never looked back, winning 25-22. After a third set 25-16 win, it seemed as if the Spartans were back in control. That thought, however, was quickly dashed by a motivated Williams Baptist squad in the second match.
After a 20 minute break in the action, WBC took control early and never allowed the Spartans an opportunity to get back into the game. A team effort, led by outside hitter Katie Thomas and setters Jameea Ward and Emily Umbaugh, were the difference as the Eagles went on to a 25-17 win.
“A lot of credit goes to Williams Baptist,” said Missouri Baptist head coach, John Yehling. “They are very athletic, young and have some good hitters. They put some pressure on us, which woke us up a bit after winning the first match.”
Missouri Baptist regained its control after an un-nerving first set. The Spartans quickly built a 14-6 lead and went on to a 25-12 set victory to tie the match at one.
“We talked about how the team on the other side of the court is playing just as hard and we need to be focused on our job and maintain that focus throughout the match,” said Yehling of his comments to the team after the first set of match two.
The Spartans responded in the third set. The team continued to pressure Williams Baptist and was able to come away with a 25-18 win.
The fourth set was a fight to the finish. The two teams traded blows like prize fighters, each slamming home several big kills. After Missouri Baptist put-up two quick points to tie the game at 12, the Eagles called a timeout to calm down the team. It was the Spartans, however, that outlasted Williams Baptist with a 25-18 win.
“After that first set, everyone got focused” said Yehling. “We kind-of turned it on late (in the fourth set) and got on a run with Hannah Carey’s serve. She played really well today and scored a lot for us.”
In the first match, junior Maddy Hammack (St. Louis, Mo.) and freshman Taylor Cook (Lesterville, Mo.) led the Spartans with 12 kills a piece. Former outside hitter, Molly DeClue came up big for team, posting nine digs as libero.
MBU’s Ally Krus was perhaps the best of the best. The junior dished a remarkable 54 assists in the second match, the biggest recipient of which was Hannah Carey. The freshman led the MBU offense in the second match, recording 17 kills.
With the victories, Missouri Baptist moved into sole possession of first place in the American Midwest Conference (AMC). The team will look to continue its early-season success against AMC newcomer, Lyon College at home on Wednesday in another doubleheader. First serve of match one is set for a 4:00 p.m. first serve.