(KIRKSVILLE, Mo.) — Freshman hitter Carly Sojka knocked down a team-high 20 kills, as the No. 6 Central Missouri Jennies defeated the No. 15 Truman Bulldogs in a pivotal MIAA road match.
The Jens took the match in four sets, 27-25, 18-25, 25-19, 25-22, closing out the season sweep over the Bearcats, and increasing their win streak against Missouri schools to 51 matches.
Truman (25-5, 13-3 MIAA) came out strong in the opening set, keeping things close with the Jennies on their Senior Day match. After calling a timeout, the Bulldogs tied the set at 22-22 with a kill from TSU’s Allie Brak. Central Missouri (23-4, 15-1 MIAA) reclaimed the lead after an attack error on the following point, then setter Julia Bates gave the Jens set point with the first of her two service aces.
Back-to-back kills from Truman kept the Bulldogs alive and tied the score at 24-24. Sojka put UCM back in front with a kill at 25-24, but then gave up the service error, tying the set again at 25-25. Truman gave the serve right back with their own service error, and senior Bradye Peniston clinched the win with her kill at 27-25.
After a close start to the second set, the Bulldogs used a quick 4-1 run to build a 10-7 lead over the Jennies. UCM used an early timeout to regroup, but could never quite pull even, while Truman was unable to build upon their lead, simply retaining their narrow advantage.
After Peniston’s kill made it a 19-17 Truman lead, the Bulldogs ran off four straight points to put the set nearly out of reach. Truman’s top two scorers, Allie Brak and Megan Sharpe combined for back to back kills to win the second set, 25-18.
As the Bulldogs took another lead early in the third set, the Jennies turned the tide and grabbed control of the match. Down 5-3 in the third, junior Taylor Goodness earned the side-out with a kill at 5-4; a pair of blocks, first from Hillary McCormick, then from Goodness and Lisa Moore, gave the Jens a 6-5 lead.
Central Missouri built a substantial advantage, using a 7-1 run to go ahead 14-8. Peniston recorded two kills in the run, while freshman Mikalee Monachino dealt out a pair of aces. Truman climed back into the set, tying the score at 17-17, but the Jens scored eight of the final ten points, including finishing on a 5-0 run, to win 25-19.
At the start of the fourth set, TSU took a 4-1 lead before the Jennies answered with three straight to tie the score on Goodness’ kill at 4-4. The Jens were able to take a narrow lead with a four point run at 10-8, highlighted by back to back kills from McCormick.
Central Missouri never gave the lead back, as Moore and Goodness teamed up with the block at 24-21 to give UCM match point. Truman got the kill on the following point, but couldn’t hold the Jens off long enough, as McCormick took the last kill of the night, closing out the win, 25-22.
Along with Sojka’s 20 kills, Peniston reached double figures with 13 kills of her own. McCormick and Moore teamed up for nine kills apiece, while recording hitting percentages of .391 and .409, respectively. Sojka also led the team with 16 digs, while Monachino and Annie Reilly each had 15. Sara Rooney finished with 12 digs. Bates collected 51 assists in the win, averaging 12.8 per set.
With the win, the Jennies hold on to a half-game lead atop the MIAA standings, just ahead of No. 4 Nebraska-Kearney. The Jennies will take on the Lopers in their next match at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9 in Kearney, Neb.