PARKVILLE, Mo. – Missouri Baptist women’s volleyball has a penchant for tight matches. The Spartans trailed Park University at several points on Monday evening and dug themselves a 1-2 hole heading into the fourth set, but had just enough to outlast the American Midwest Conference rival, winning 3-2 in a packed house.
Missouri Baptist (22-0, 11-0 AMC) started off hot, but Park turned it on late. The Spartans started with a 2-0 advantage and held the lead until Park tied the score at 15 all. At this point, the Pirates took over, posting a five-point run to take a 19-15 lead.
MBU found its game, cutting the Park lead to 24-23, but it was too little, too late as Park took the set 25-23. Patricia Souza and Lauren Purdy led the attack for Park, both with five kills a piece.
Park continued its momentum in the second set. The Pirates built a 6-2 lead, but the Spartans quickly tied the match. From this point forward, it was MBU who put its opponent on the defensive. The Spartans took an 8-7 lead and quickly opened up a 22-16 advantage late in second set. The Pirates pressed and put 18 on the board, but MBU finished strong, winning 25-18.
The Pirates started the third set with another lead. After going up 8-2, Park began to run away with it, building a 16-8 lead. Though the Spartans made small runs, Park’s Purdy again had a big set, posting six kills to lead the team to a 25-19 lead and a 2-1 match advantage.
Missouri Baptist held several leads in the fourth set, but did not capitalize on Pirate mistakes. Down the stretch, the Pirates made MBU work and tied the Spartans just as the team looked to have the game under control. The set was easily the most exciting as the Park fans created booming noise with every Pirate point. It was the Spartans, however, that held-on to take a 28-26 win and force a fifth set.
As the deciding fifth set began, Park looked to take control early. Lauren Purdy started things off with a big kill. Though Park began to pull away 5-2, the Spartans evened the score and took an 8-7 lead as the teams switched sides.
Park pushed the tempo of play toward the end, but the Spartans clung to it’s lead, handing the Pirates a 15-11 set loss and 3-2 match defeat.
The Pirates were led by the stellar play of Lauren Purdy. The middle blocker recorded 21 kills and a .375 attack percentage to lead all players. For Missouri Baptist, Hannah Carey came up big in key situations. The opposite posted 18 kills and an assisted block. Middle blocker Madeline Nesbit was also solid. The junior from Belleville, Ill., recorded 15 kills, a .400 attack percentage and six assisted blocks on the night.
Park University suffered its third loss in the conference, the other two coming to Columbia College. For MBU, the Spartans improve to an NAIA-best 22-0 with the win and will face the Columbia Cougars on Wednesday night at 6:00 p.m. at the Carl and Deloris Patty Sports and Recreation Complex.