By Roderick Wilbon, Sports Editor
University of Missouri-St. Louis women’s volleyball team took on McKendree November 7 on the road. In their last meeting, the Tritons hosted the team and were suppressed for a 1-3 loss. McKendree left still undefeated in the Great Valley Lakes Conference. The Tritons hosted the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) on November 11 as the last game of the regular season, right after McKendree. In the previous game with UIS. These last two games are statement games with further implications into the GLVC Conference Tournament.
The Tritons went toe-to-toe with McKendree, but the first set McKendree won 23-25. The Tritons took the lead in the middle of the set before McKendree came back late in the set. The game looked like the Tritons withered in the second set dropping it 15-25. Would this be a repeat of the previous McKendree game?
The third set was the real fight with the Tritons jumping to an early lead. The Tritons service aces have really become a huge factor in games lately. The Tritons’ Morgan Childers, sophomore, business, and Madyson Abeyta, GLVC Offensive Player of the Week, senior, accounting, helped the Tritons with 5 service aces. McKendree was not going down easily though taking the Tritons to set point twice before conceding the set 26-24.
The team’s spirit and confidence were renewed. The Tritons believed that they could defeat McKendree and with Maddy Russell’s, sophomore, nursing, three kills and they took the fourth set 25-20. Service aces would play a factor again in giving the Tritons the final set 15-11. It also handed McKendree its first home loss of the season.
On the day to honor seniors UIS came in second in the GLVC Central Conference. They came in super aggressive and confident. The UIS controlled most of the match winning the first two sets 25-22 and 25-19. After the intermission, the Tritons gathered themselves and came out strong. Once again, the service aces were a key factor in the game for the Tritons. They finished the third set 25-11 with key blocks from many of the players. “It was amazing,” said Alex Miner, junior, psychology. “It’s kind of tough coming from a 2-0 deficit, but this is our second one this week, and the mentality is kicking in that we can do this, too.”
I’m the fourth set the Tritons came back late, pulling out all the tricks with long rallies between both teams. Until UIS made some service errors the Tritons stole the fourth set 26-24. The fifth and final set UIS led strongly. A key timeout by Triton’s Head Coach Ryan Young stopped UIS’s momentum. UIS then committed a service error on the next play. The Tritons put the game away on two back to back kills by Selena Nolte, Sophomore, biology pre-med, minor chemistry.
The Tritons finish the regular season tied for second in the central division of the GLVC Conference. “When we tied it up in the fifth set they (UIS) got really cautious and we just stayed aggressive,” said Young. “We try to put our kids in the best situation to make our team the best.” Young went on to say, “I’m proud of their heart and determination.” The Tritons are on the road to start the GLVC Tournament November 17 against Rockhurst.