WEST PLAINS, Mo. – The Mineral Area volleyball team returned to action from an emotional 11-day hiatus on Wednesday night, but could not overcome the weight of a two-game deficit.
Kelly Wiedemann recorded 15 kills and Maju Loureiro knocked down 13 more from their outside spots to propel MSU-West Plains past the visiting Cardinals 25-19, 25-16, 20-25, 25-15.
Julieta Campana totaled 37 assists, and surprised the opposing defense three separate times for kills on second contact for the Grizzlies (7-14, 2-0) in the Region 16 rivalry clash.
Mineral Area (12-5, 1-1) negated a stellar blocking effort by freshman middle hitter Kaylee Portell by failing to connect on numerous passes throughout the contest.
The Cardinals hoped to square the match after gaining four separate one-point leads early in game four. Blair Busenbark helped win a point with a tremendous clearing dig on a ball that had been deflected twice.
Laura Danezzi dished out 35 assists and made eight digs overall, but a series of heavy sets put her hitters in close proximity to the net, resulting in either errors or free balls.
MSU-West Plains conversely capitalized with smooth transitions to offense, and embarked on a pivotal 14-4 scoring stretch that created a comfortable 22-12 cushion.
Alayna Rooks notched a team-high 14 kills, and spiked off a defender to represent the Cardinals' last stand after Marieke Zink punched a heated attack upward to extend the rally.
Loureiro answered with a floating kill while falling to the surface, and Wiedemann punctuated the outcome with a big solo block.
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Julia Dunning provided eight kills and Camilly Cristiny added seven for the Grizzlies, who terminated 14 swings to control the opening stanza. Nayla Watkins chipped in four blocks.
MSU-West Plains opened the match with an immediate 5-0 spurt, getting an overpass kill and scoring block along the way. The margin eventually reached 17-10 on a receiving error.
Rooks was easily the most effective hitter in the early stages for MAC, which competed for the sixth straight match without all-American middle Cindy Garcia Penaloza in uniform.
The Cardinals got within 19-17 after a Portell block and Busenbark dig led to Rooks’ fifth kill. Portell answered a superb stop by libero Allisann Nichols with a stuff at 20-18.
Wiedemann seized control from there by sending down kills on the next three points from various angles. Her squad would soon claim game two by pulling away in similar fashion.
Mineral Area briefly led the second set 8-7 when Baylie Petry landed a cross-court smash, but West Plains established a 19-14 advantage with Wiedemann and Watkins shining up front.
Portell compiled 11 blocks along with eight kills, and sparked a positive third game for Mineral Area while Silvia Bonsanti, Solymar Santos and Rooks offered solid balance.
Portell stuffed an attack for a point, then ripped a bump set from libero Emily Greif for another score. She later tipped accurately for a 12-7 lead after Sydni Basler served an ace.
Rooks collected four kills on feeds from Danezzi during a single progression across the front, pushing the margin to 22-15. Santos took care of a back-set on the clinching set point.
Petry ended with seven kills, and Bonsanti had five blocks in defeat. Greif paced the defense with 17 digs while Busenbark and Zink added eight apiece and Basler had seven.