(MARYVILLE, Mo.) – Senior hitter Bradye Peniston led the way with 12 kills, as the sixth-ranked Central Missouri Jennies defeated the Northwest Missouri Bearcats 3-1 to extend their current winning streak to five matches.
The Jennies (21-4, 13-1 MIAA) held an early lead in the first set, taking a 12-5 lead after a six-point run which included a pair of kills from Taylor Goodness, and three attack errors from the Bearcats.
Northwest Missouri took four straight points to close the gap to 14-11, but after committing a service error, the Jennies were again able to stretch their lead to 17-11, on a block from Peniston and Carly Sojka. Another four-point run put the set within reach for UCM, then were given a set point opportunity after a bad set from Northwest Missouri. The Bearcats were able to withstand four set points, earning two kills before ultimately falling, 25-22.
Central Missouri looked poised to take a two-set lead after scoring six of the first eight points in the second set. The Bearcats responded, taking control of the set the rest of the way. Scoring four straight points, Northwest quickly tied the set at 7-7. Two quick kills from Lisa Moore and Julia Bates closed the Bearcats’ lead to two points at 14-12, but the Jennies gave up four straight points to make it 18-12. Northwest closed out the set with the final three points, tying the match at one set apiece.
In the pivotal third set, the Jens found themselves down three points at 20-17 before scoring three straight to tie the set. The Jens gained their first lead at 22-21 after Sojka’s kill, set up by a pass from Peniston. Both sides sided out until Peniston put down a kill at 24-23, giving the Jennies set point.
The Bearcats fought back to tie the match with a kill from Northwest Missouri’s Brooke Bartosh, then earned a set point of their own after a bad set from UCM. Goodness was able to keep the Jennies live in the third set with a kill, tying the game at 25-25, then again continued play with another kill at 26-26. Back-to-back kills from Sojka finally gave the Jennies the win at 28-26.
Both sides held narrow leads in the fourth set, and it looked as though it would be another tight finish. The Jennies were able to move ahead for good with a nine-point run served up by freshman Courtney Cornell, who dealt out three aces during the run. The run gave UCM a 17-9 advantage, as the Bearcats would only score four more points before the Jens earned match point at 24-13.
Northwest Missouri again made the Jennies earn their victory, turning back five consecutive match points, before the block from Cornell and Bates finished off the set, 25-18.
Along with Peniston’s 12 kills, Moore and Goodness also finished in double-digit kills, with 11 and 10, respectively. Sojka led the team in digs with 15, while libero Annie Reilly finished with 12.
Bates earned the double-double, picking up 37 assists along with 10 digs; the Leavenworth, Kan. native also collected five kills with a .500 hitting percentage.
The Jennies will return home for their final home match at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2 when they host Missouri Western. The team will honor its four seniors, Jamie Haworth, Bradye Peniston, Hillary McCormick, and Lisa Moore, before the match.