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Women’s Volleyball battles at Stevens Point

Photo by Sam Dunn
Photo by Sam Dunn

STEVENS POINT, Wis. – The CUW women's volleyball program battled two of the toughest teams in the region on Friday at the UW-Stevens Point Pointers Invitational. The Falcons opened the day against the host Pointers, who are sitting 26th in the most recent AVCA rankings with a 3-2 (25-23, 23-25, 25-23, 15-25, 17-19) loss. The Blue and White then closed the day with a 3-0 (23-25, 23-25, 22-25) loss to the No. 19-ranked Lady Reds of Carthage. The Falcons move to 2-4 on the young season after Friday.

The Falcons and Pointers fought to the end on Friday with four of the five sets being decided by two points.

After trailing in the first set, 13-16, the Falcons were able to tie the set behind the serve of junior Cristina Stinson (Aurora, Ill.). The Blue and White used a 9-3 run to take a 21-19 lead that they would not surrender. The Falcons went on to take the set, 25-23.

The Falcons jumped on Stevens Point early in the second set at 10-5. UWSP did not fold and continued to chip away at the lead. The Purple and Gold used a late 10-4 to take the set at 25-23.

The Falcons shook off the second set and pushed the lead to 16-8 with the help of the serve of senior Megan Mayer (Downers Grove, Ill.). The Pointers closed the gap, but a block from senior Holly Anderson (Grant Park, Ill.) and senior Kendall Stribling (Greenfield, Wis.) closed the set at 25-23. The Falcons hit a blistering .350 in the third set.

The Pointers responded with an early 9-2 lead in the fourth set and cruised to a 25-15 victory in the fourth set to force a fifth set.

UWSP opened the fifth set on a 4-1 run, but the Falcons refused to fold. A kill from sophomore McKenna Nigl (Richmond Center, Wis.) tied the set at eight and Megan Mayer gave the Falcons a 9-8 lead. CUW forced match point at 14-11, but UWSP tied the match at 14. The Pointers fought off two more match points. A kill from Megan Meyer put away a Stevens Point match point, but the Pointers rallied to win, 19-17.

Megan Mayer recorded a double-double with 18 kills and 10 digs. As did sophomore Makenzie Vertz (Mukwonago, Wis.) with 30 assists and 11 digs.

Senior Ariana Richmond (South Elgin, Ill.) led the flock with 17 digs. Kendall Stribling and sophomore Sophia Collins (Lake Mills, Wis.) both collected three blocks.

The Lady Reds opened the first set with a 12-6 lead. A pair of service aces from Megan Mayer cut the deficit to 12-10. A 4-0 run, headlined by two kills from Kendall Stribling tied the set at 21. Carthage used a 3-1 run to close the set and win 25-23.

In the second set, CUW pushed the lead to 13-5 to start. The Lady Reds used a 13-3 streak to reclaim the lead. Carthage won the final two points to claim the match, 25-23.

Neither team was able to get much separation, with neither team able to build a lead larger than three points, until Carthage gained a 22-18 lead. The Blue and White cut the deficit to one point on two occasions, but Carthage walked away with a 25-22 victory.

Mayer notched her second double-double of the day with 12 kills and 16 digs. Christina Stinson and Makenzie Vertz both finished the match with 15 assists.

The Falcons will take on Elmhurst on Saturday at the Pointers Invitational.