(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) — The Central Missouri volleyball seniors led their team to a straight-set victory in their final regular season match at the UCM Multipurpose Building over Missouri Western, 25-20, 25-22, 25-21, on Friday night.
Senior hitter Bradye Peniston led the Jennies with 17 kills and a .455 hitting percentage. Fellow seniors Lisa Mooreand Hillary McCormick finished with six and five kills, respectively, to cap off their Senior Night performances.
Junior Jamie Haworth started out with a service ace on the first point of the match to give Central Missouri (22-4, 14-1 MIAA) an early 1-0 lead. Haworth is graduating from UCM early and will finish her volleyball career at the end of this season.
The Griffons (13-15, 4-11 MIAA) kept things close throughout the first set, leading early at 6-3 after a kill from MWSU’s Amanda Boender. The Jennies reclaimed the lead after a 6-2 run, but Missouri Western re-tied the set as late at 16-16 with another kill. Moore teamed up with freshman Carly Sojka to knock down a kill at 17-16, kick-starting an 8-2 run to give the Jens set point at 24-18 following a Peniston kill. The Griffons clawed back for another two points, but an attack error at 25-20 gave the Jennies the win.
Missouri Western answered in a big way early in the second set. The Griffons scored nine straight points to build a 10-2 lead, coming off of six kills and three blocks. Central Missouri slowly worked their way back into the set, however, siding out on ten of the Griffons’ final 12 serves in the set.
Freshman Sara Rooney dealt out a big run that put the Jennies back in front, serving up a ten-point run that took a 16-8 Griffon advantage and turned it into a 18-16 UCM lead. Peniston led the attack during the run, picking up four kills over the rally. McCormick’s kill gave Central Missouri set point at 24-21, as the Jennies went ahead two sets to none on a Griffon attack error.
Ready to close out the Senior Night victory, the Jennies played their best volleyball in the third set, recording 22 kills with a .380 hitting percentage. Missouri Western put up a fight though, keeping it close throughout the final set.
Peniston knocked down a kill to give the Jens a lead at 19-18, then did it again following a service ace from freshmanMikalee Monachino to make it 21-18. The three quick points for UCM was the longest run by either team in the third set.
Setter Julia Bates made it four straight points with a kill, giving the Jens a 22-18 lead. Sojka’s 11th kill of the night set up match point at 24-20, as Taylor Goodness closed out the win with the kill two points later.
Goodness and Sojka both finished in double figures, with 13 and 11 kills, respectively. Bates recorded 47 assists in the win, averaging 15.7 per set. Freshman libero Annie Reilly led the defense with 30 digs, reaching the 30-dig mark for the third time in her young career. Sojka also picked up 19 digs, earning her eighth double-double of the year.
With the win, the Jennies move ever so slightly ahead of No. 4 Nebraska-Kearney atop the MIAA standings, leading the Lopers by half a game for the conference title. The Jennies will put that lead on the line tomorrow afternoon, when they travel to No. 15 Truman, for a matinee matchup in Kirksville, beginning at 3 p.m.