SIOUX CITY, IOWA – When the Mustangs walked into the Tyson Events Center for the final night of national tournament pool play, they wanted to prove something. Prove something they did, with a 3-1 win over the Embry-Riddle Aeronautic University Eagles, 25-20, 27-25, 12-25, and 25-20
“The girls knew that this was for pride,” said Coach Beth Donnelly. “This wasn’t necessarily going to get us anywhere, but we wanted to go out with a win, and we got it. The way that they came out was pure guts and grit.”
Morningside totaled 55 kills on the night off of 51 assists with 94 digs. The Mustangs shut down the Eagles at the net for nine team blocks.
In a repeat of day two’s match, Emma Gerber (JR/Worthington, MN) led the Mustangs on the attack, with 21 kills. Krista Zenk (SO/Le Mars, IA) had 14 terminations, followed by Brittni Olson (JR/Sioux City, IA) with six and Callie Alberico (JR/Fort Calhoun, NE), Madison Hartman (JR/Morgan Hill, CA), and Caitlin Makovicka (SO/Ceresco, NE) with four each.
Alberico dominated the assists column, collecting 44 assists of Morningside’s 51.
The Mustangs were led defensively by Merrin Van Velzen (SO/Sergeant Bluff, IA) with 21 digs. Zenk picked up 15 digs, while libero Kayla Harris (FR/Dakota City, NE) and Alberico each had 14. Morningside’s nine blocks were courtesy of a solo block each from Makovicka and Lauren Rohwer (FR/Aurelia, IA), as well as six block assists by Gerber, three by Alberico, two by Makovicka, one each by Olson and Rohwer.
“I was extremely impressed by our pursuit tonight. We were animals out there, absolutely not letting balls drop,” reflected Donnelly. “We’ve got kids that are just out there playing their hearts out. In volleyball, that’s what you need. You can have the greatest technique, but if you don’t play with emotion, you don’t play with heart, you don’t get very far.”