By Mary Chickos, staff writer & Alex Neupert, sports writer
University of Missouri—St. Louis and University of Missouri Science and Technology (S&T) fans packed the Mark Twain Athletic & Fitness Center for a women’s volleyball match on November 14. The atmosphere was enthusiastic as Tritons and Miners fans cheered on their teams. Fans could be heard cheering “Let’s go, feed the beast!” and “Dig it ladies!” throughout the evening, trying to help lift their teams to a victory. It was a close matchup with both teams battling back and forth, but the Miners eventually pulled ahead to take the fifth set and the match.
The Tritons won the first period 25-15, leading some to believe this might be a quick affair. However, the Miners came back strong and fought hard to take the second 30-28, fending off four set points from UMSL to win. After a brief respite, Missouri S&T won the third set with a score of 25-21. With the match on the line UMSL got everything working for them again as they showed their strong play from the first set, winning with an identical score to the first set at 25-15. As both teams had two sets each, they played the final tie-break set to 15 points and the Miners pulled ahead by a narrow margin.
Several UMSL students were in the stands cheering. Hannah Kinney, sophomore, nursing, said, “This is an exciting, fast moving game that is well matched.” Alvaro Carazago, freshman, marketing, was in the stands supporting Madyson Abeyta, sophomore, mathematics. He said, “I support the volleyball team. My girlfriend is playing.”
One of the key players on the team, Hannah Miller, senior, graphic design, leads the Tritons, playing from the right side as one of the Tritons’ hitters. She entered the 2015 season ranked eighth all time in career hitting percentage for UMSL. As a junior she played in all 28 matches, starting in 27 and led the team with a .291 hitting percentage, which was good for ninth in the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC). While she has not been quite as effective as a senior, her career percentage is still an impressive .243.
Carly Ochs, senior, accounting, led the team on the night with 13 kills. Jessica Ploss, senior, criminal justice, added 12 kills and also helped the team defensively with 10 blocks. Overall, UMSL was outshot 64-54 on kills and even with a higher hitting percentage. The Miners just seemed able to pull out the victory with key points when it mattered and kept their cool when down.
The Tritons played their final match of the season on November 14, once again going the distance with another five-set match against Drury University. It was a great end to the season as the team celebrated senior night, honoring their five seniors: Ploss, Miller, Ochs, Erin Walker, elementary special education, and Lindsay Meyer, business logistics. UMSL won by set scores of 25-20, 25-21, 21-25, 23-25, 15-7 and finished the year with a final record of 16-16 (9-9 GLVC).