The Iowa Wesleyan volleyball team gave it everything they had on Thursday night but they just didn’t have enough to upend MacMurray in a thrilling five-set home match.
The Tigers and Highlanders traded punches all night, but it was MacMurray that got the last shot in, taking the match 17-25, 25-20, 25-22, 16-25, 15-12.
The Tigers spread the ball around early in set one. Jordan Miller, Paige Kammerer, Lida Landre and Miranda Marshall each had a kill in the first five Tiger points, and IW trailed 6-5.
Kammerer scored the next two points, tallying a couple of kills that gave the Tigers a 7-6 lead. IW didn’t give that lead up for the rest of the set.
The Tigers got out to a 14-9 lead and held a steady lead throughout the set before eventually taking it by eight, 25-17.
MacMurray responded in a big way early in the second set. They scored seven of the first 10 points to take a 7-3 advantage. Allegra Collette had a couple of kills to keep the Tigers close, but the Highlanders kept their lead.
The Tigers came within two points, at 12-10, but MacMurray never gave up the lead en route to a 25-20 win.
Things looked dim for IW early in the third set. MacMurray scored the first seven points of the set, leading 7-0 until Landre ended the run with a kill.
The Tigers trailed by as much as 10 points, at 20-10, but clawed back to make it a game. Landre had six kills in the set. Ariel Smale had three, and the Tigers knocked the lead all the way down to two points, at 23-21, and then again at 24-22. Unfortunately for IW, the Tigers ran out of time and the Highlanders escaped with a 25-22 win.
The Tigers did carry some momentum into the fourth set, however. IW scored seven of the first 10 points to take a 7-3 advantage. MacMurray came back to tie the game at 11-11, but a couple of blocks by Miller helped the Tigers regain and keep the lead.
Collette had three kills in the final six Tiger points. Sydney Ellsworth closed the game out with a kill and the Tigers won 25-16 to force a deciding fifth set.
The Tigers went to Landre early and often in the fifth set. Through six points, it was 3-3, with Landre getting all three kills. The Tigers and Highlanders split the next 12, and the set was tied 9-9.
Landre had three more kills by the time the set was over, but a couple of IW mistakes helped the Highlanders pull out the win. MacMurray took the fifth game 15-12 to beat the Tigers on their home floor.
Landre had 18 kills to lead the Tigers in the loss. Collette finished with 10. Smale led the way with 28 assists.
Defensively, Miller finished with three blocks. Ellsworth had 20 digs. Jenna Murphy finished with 15 kills, and Kammerer had 14.