Minnesota State opened the season with back to back sweeps over Franklin Pierce (25-15, 25-15, 25-9) and Pitt.-Johnstown (25-20, 25-23, 25-22) on Friday afternoon.
Both teams opened the first set trading points to find themselves deadlocked at eight. The Mavericks then took control of the match with a ten point run to open up a 18-8 advantage over the Ravens. Minnesota State went on to win the opening frame, 25-15.
The Mavericks used the momentum gained from the first set to quickly take control of the second frame by running out to a 14-5 lead and forcing Franklin Pierce to take a time out. The Ravens battled back cutting the deficit to six, 16-10. However, Minnesota State maintained composure and closed out the frame, downing Franklin Pierce, 25-15.
In the third and final frame, MSU took control by building a 10-2 edge and forcing the Ravens to burn an early time out. The Mavericks went on to cruise to a 25-9 win in the third set. This is the third consecutive season Minnesota State has opened with a win.
Senior Krista Hassing opened the season posting a team-high 14 kills with a .385 hitting percentage. Senior Sydney Geisness also notched 12 kills and a team-best .500 hitting percentage. Defensively, senior Haley Fogarty posted a match-high 17 digs to round out the Mavericks’ top performers.
In the second match of the day against Pitt.-Johnstown, both teams traded points in an opening set that saw 11 ties and eight lead changes. Minnesota State took control after a 15-15 tie by going on a six point run to create a 21-15 advantage, which proved to be the difference as the Mavericks took the opening match, 25-20.
The Mavericks and Mountain Cats continued to battle in the second frame. Minnesota State jumped out to an early 11-5 advantage. Pitt.-Johnstown fought back to cut the deficit to four, 11-7,and forced MSU to use a time out. The Mountain Cats would not go away quietly as they came within one, 22-21, late in the second frame. The Mavericks withstood the late push and held on a for the 25-23 win.
In the third and final set of game two, MSU was able to take control, seizing a 10-3 edge. Pitt.-Johnstown once again battled back to cut the lead to one, 18-17, late in the frame and forced the Mavericks to take a time out. Minnesota State was able to rely on its defense to close the game and capture their second sweep of the day with a 25-22 win.
Geisness led the Mavericks with 15 kills while Hassing contributed 13. Autumn Risch posted a match-high 33 assists. Defensively, Fogarty added a match-best 20 kills to round out the top performers.
Minnesota State returns to the court tomorrow to take on Henderson State at 12:15 p.m. CT and will close the weekend with a match with No. 7 University of Tampa at 7 p.m. CT.
(Photo courtesy of MSU Athletics)