Score: Evangel 3, Missouri Valley 1 (25-23, 22-25, 25-16, 25-16)
Location: Ashcroft Center | Springfield, Mo.
Records: Evangel (5-1, 2-1), Missouri Valley (1-7, 0-6)
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Evangel volleyball team shook off the rust from an 18-day hiatus to turn back a stiff challenge from Missouri Valley Tuesday evening, splitting a pair of tight sets with the Vikings to open the night before cruising to a four-set victory (25-23, 22-25, 25-16, 25-16) at the Ashcroft Center.
Evangel was tested early by MVC, but responded when it mattered to claim the opening set in a back-and-forth game that saw the visitors battle back from sizable deficits to knot the ledger on two separate occasions. EU appeared to be in full command after winning six of seven points, getting a pair of kills, a block and an ace from Tori Lowry to build a 12-5 advantage.
But MVC answered with a 5-1 spurt as part of 13-6 run that ultimately pulled the Vikings even at 18-18. The Crusaders took advantage of a pair of errors and a Bridget Petersen kill to reclaim the lead, but once again MVC came back to even things up by winning five of the next seven points.
The Crusaders won the final two points, however, getting a clutch kill by Ciera Reyes and a service ace from Meredith Avery to close out the set.
The second stanza proved even more tightly-contested than the first, as neither squad led by more than four points until a 15-6 MVC scoring run handed the Vikings a 22-17 cushion. EU rebounded by taking five-straight points, only to see the visitors close out the game with a key kill by Angelica Monteagudo and a pair of Crusader attack errors.
Evangel hit 0.326 as a team in a decisive third-set win, as the Crusaders were in control from the onset. EU used a six-point run to turn a 12-10 lead into an eight-point bulge, and MVC would get no closer than within six points the rest of the way. Lowry, who fashioned a 0.462 attack efficiency in the game, delivered one of her five kills in the set to seal the 25-16 decision.
In the fourth game, Evangel won the first eight points and led 11-2 before the Vikings stormed back with a 7-0 run of their own. MVC drew to within 15-12, but an Eryn Russell service ace and two Petersen kills helped give the Crusaders some breathing room for an eight-point advantage that the Vikings would never seriously threaten.
Lowry led all attackers with 16 kills to go along with 13 digs and three blocks, while Peterson registered 14 kills and four blocks and Russell accounted for 34 digs for the Crusaders.
Evangel will travel to the state of Kansas for a pair of Heart Conference matches this weekend, facing Baker Friday (7 p.m.) in Baldwin City, before meeting Benedictine Saturday (5 p.m.) in Atchison.
For the latest information on Evangel Athletics, follow the Crusaders on Facebook at Facebook.com/EUAthletics, Twitter (@EUAthletics), or visit EvangelAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the new Evangel Crusaders Gameday App through Google Play.