This weekend held a rare three-game road trip in one week for the Missouri State Bears volleyball team.
The Bears went winless, finishing the away game stretch Saturday in a 3-0 loss to Northern Iowa, their seventh straight loss.
The Bears would fight from behind the entire first set, getting as close as 18-16 in McLeod Center before giving up a 7-0 run and having a hitting percentage of .000 in the process. An early 3-0 advantage was taken by the Bears, but two consecutive 5-0 runs led the way in giving the Panthers full control. Their hitting percentage of .265 would earn them a 25-12 victory in the second. The closing set of the contest was decided by another 7-0 run. This time, UNI overcame a 12-10 deficit to lead for the remainder of the game. The Bears only hit .040 of their attempts compared to UNI’s .242. Key performances came from senior outside hitter Amelia Flynn who carried the offense with 11 kills, and junior middle blocker Azyah Green who took care of the defensive end recording seven blocks.
The night before, MSU competed against the Drake University Bulldogs and lost in a four-set (25-20, 25-12, 23-25, 25-23) effort.
Knapp Center attendants witnessed the first two sets in which MSU put up a negative hitting percentage. What was presumed as the deciding set for Drake ended up becoming a spark of hope for the Bears, as they scored 18 kills and won the set by two.
MSU followed up by going on a 10-3 run in the fourth. The Bulldogs would ultimately fight back, resulting in multiple ties and lead changes. Bad luck can be attributed to this loss as a review upheld the call of no touch on an MSU attack error on the final point resulting in the set and game win.
Outside of the loss, a season-high 88 digs was the total for the away team. Green would also have a career-high in kills with 14.
Four days earlier, the Bears lost in a three-set defeat to the Indiana State Sycamores. MSU having a 20-kill disadvantage, giving up several runs and hitting .147 compared to the opponent's .242 is the story of this particular game.
The Bears now stand at ninth in the Missouri Valley Conference and look to play their final three games of the season at home Nov. 12, 19 and 20.
Regardless of where they finish in the standings, they will be unable to compete in the MVC tournament due to NCAA sanctions announced last week in relation to violations by a previous head coach.
Follow Reginald Lee Jr. on Twitter, @ReginaldLeeJr16
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