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Morningside, Peru State fight off Waldorf in straight sets

Waldorf Warriors LogoBy: Matt Oliver

OMAHA, Nebraska – Morningside College and Peru State College earned sweeps over the Waldorf University volleyball team during the opening day of the College of Saint Mary Tournament on Friday.

“It was a very up-and-down day,” Waldorf coach Paul Meyer said.

Morningside (8-1) topped the Warriors (4-8) by scores of 25-19, 25-13, 25-20.

“We started off very slow against a solid Morningside team,” Meyer said. “I felt we matched up well against them and just didn’t play well.”

The Mustangs were firing on all cylinders, powering to the win behind a .287 team hitting percentage while holding Waldorf to a .039 hitting performance.

“Both offensively and defensively, we just didn’t play our game, and Morningside controlled the contest,” Meyer said.

Waldorf junior Rebecca Bartnicki recorded 10 kills, a solo block and three block assists. Sophomore Kayla Budgins connected for six kills, while senior Megan Perkins and junior Kaitlyn Monck added three kills each.

Freshman Elisabeth Tramm led the Warriors with 12 assists, and senior Valerie Rivera handed out 11 assists.

Junior Briley Sullivan collected 11 digs, and junior Erica Fee turned in five digs. Freshman Kelsey Sederquest contributed four digs and notched Waldorf’s lone service ace.

The Mustangs posted eight total blocks en route to their fifth straight victory. Finishing with four blocks, the Warriors received two block assists from junior April Jones and one block assist from freshman Kyra Platzek.

Peru State (13-2) fought past Waldorf 25-21, 25-23, 25-23. The Bobcats are receiving votes in the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) poll, but the Warriors wouldn’t back down.

“The second match was a huge change,” Meyer said. “The team came out with a lot of energy against a very talented Peru State squad that is ready to break into the top-25 rankings.”

Budgins and Monck paced Waldorf’s attack with eight kills apiece. Junior Isabelle Rothbauer provided six kills, Bartnicki tallied five kills and Perkins closed out the match with four kills.

Rothbauer and Bartnicki came away with three block assists each. Budgins and Jones also battled at the net for two block assists apiece, helping Waldorf to five total blocks in the loss.

Rivera dished out 16 assists, and Tramm added seven assists.

Sederquest delivered two aces, while Budgins, Rivera and Fee also had aces.

Sullivan recorded a team-high 23 digs to surpass the 1,500-dig milestone. The libero from Laurens has racked up 1,512 digs in three seasons with the Warriors and currently ranks fourth all-time in school history.

Sederquest ended the match with six digs, Fee finished with five digs and Rivera contributed four digs.

Waldorf produced a .127 hitting percentage, connecting for a .290 hitting clip in the opening set and a .237 hitting performance in the final set. Peru State hit .278 in the hard-fought sweep.

“I thought overall, we played our best match of the year against one of the more talented teams we have seen and had a lot of players step up,” Meyer said. “Peru State had to earn all of their points.”

The Warriors wrap up the weekend tournament on Saturday, playing Grace University (3-6) at 10:30 a.m. and Mount Marty College (3-4) at 2:30 p.m.

“We need to continue the energy [on Saturday] at this level of play and now get wins,” Meyer said.