PHOTO: Senior Emily Bragaw serves against Maryville. Photo by Eric Harris for The Current 2014 ©
By Eric Harris, sports editor for The Current
Tuesday, October 28, the University of Missouri – St. Louis volleyball team hosted their fourth annual ‘Dig for the Cure’ game, where they partner with local UMSL sororities to raise money to donate to breast cancer research. This year, the Tritons took on their in-town rivals, the Maryville University Saints. Earlier this season, the Saints beat UMSL with a stunning 1-3 loss. Needless to say, UMSL’s volleyball team was ready for retribution. On top of that, the Tritons had an extra reason to be excited going into this game. Allie Ewing, junior, liberal studies, said “We just got our regional rankings, and we are in the top 8 which is huge!” Along with being in front of a larger than normal home crowd, the special night helped in getting the Tritons pumped for the game.
On a quick 3 sets, the Tritons put down 48 kills against the Saints, while also scoring 6 aces. Outside hitter, captain Haley Brightwell, graduate, business administration, led the team getting 11 kills, bringing her season total to 169. Against Maryville, outside hitter Gina Pezze, freshman, nursing, followed with 9 kills and gave UMSL 2 of our 6 aces. The Triton’s libero Emily Bragaw, senior, liberal studies, contributed 20 digs in their effort against the Saints.
In front of the packed stands, the Tritons blew past Maryville winning 3-0. Going 25-21, 25-17, and 25-20 in the three quick sets. At one point during the second set, UMSL was ahead ten points against Maryville, leading 19-9. Head Coach Ryan Young was very happy with the three set win, “I thought we played very consistent. We served very well and that helped our block and defense get set up to stop their offense. We did a good job of hitting smart shots and making good decisions when attacking.”
Saturday, November 1, the Tritons took on the University of Southern Indiana. UMSL went a whole four sets with the Screaming Eagles, but came out with a tough loss of 3-1. UMSL took the first set 25-19, before falling in the three that followed. Jory Siebenmorgen, sophomore, studio art, led the team with an outstanding 19 kills followed by Brightwell’s 12.
Jessica Ploss, junior, criminal justice, did not let this small setback get her down. Ploss said, “We need to refocus and play hard against Bellarmine tomorrow. Each match is one step closer to our goal of making the NCAA tournament, so a big win tomorrow is key.”
The Lady Tritons did not let that small loss get to them. The following Sunday, they took on Bellarmine University. The Tritons came out with a big win for their senior game, taking down the Knights in a hard fought 3-1 victory.
The first set of senior day ended with UMSL putting out an overpowering 25-16 win over Bellarmine. Ewing led the set with three kills. At one point, the Tritons took an eight point lead over their opponents. Set two ended with similarly exciting fashion. UMSL ending it with a score of 25-18. Carly Ochs, junior, accounting, put down an impressive 7 kills against the Knights.
In the third set, the moment shifted as Bellarmine put up 4 unanswered points against the Tritons coming out of the break. This put UMSL on the offense, making up the deficient, but falling short with a 25-20.
The Tritons were able to rally in the fourth set, coming back after Bellarmine took off with a quick 6-2 lead over UMSL. Pezze, coming off the bench, contributed 3 kills to this set. Two were scored consecutively, pushing the Tritons past a tie score of 12-12 to get UMSL in the lead. Poetically, Ewing scored the final kill of her senior game bringing the set score to a 25-19 win over the Knights.
UMSL volleyball team has just three more away games, before heading to the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament and the post season. Go Tritons!
© The Current 2014