ODESSA, Texas - For the third-consecutive match, McMurry University’s volleyball team played a five-set match, topping the University of Texas-Permian Basin, 3-2. The War Hawks came back from a 0-2 hole to win the match 21-25, 19-25, 25-16, 25-21, 15-13.
The win also improved McM to 10-7 versus the Heartland Conference and evened its record at 14-14 overall for 2013.
In set one, McMurry jumped out to an 8-3 advantage, eliciting a timeout by the Falcons. From that point on, UTPB began to chip away at the War Hawks’ lead. The Falcons eventually knotted the set at 19-19, and never trailed again in the set, going on to the 25-21 win. UTPB had five blocks in the opening set.
In set two, McM never seemed to get on track and struggled to a .000 attack percentage for the set, committing 10 attack errors. McMurry had no blocks in the set, while the Falcons managed three stops at the net. No War Hawk had more than two kills in the set, as McM fell, 25-19.
The break after set two seemed to energize McMurry in the third set, as it led the entire segment. With McM clinging to a slim 13-12 lead, a sideout and five-consecutive winning serves by Kelsey Harkins extended the advantage to 19-12, en route to the 25-16 win. Evans and Hines each had six kills in set three, alone.
Set four set the stage for what was to come, as both teams slugged it out with long rallies. McMurry took the lead for good at 12-11, but could not build a lead of larger than four points before closing things out at 25-21 and forcing the fifth and deciding set.
Set five see-sawed in the early going, with McM taking the lead at 5-3. But UTPB rallied to score five unanswered points and assumed an 8-5 cushion. Ahead 9-7, UTPB’s Taylor Harmon served three straight to give the Falcons a commanding 12-7 margin in the set to 15 points.
But that’s when the War Hawks mounted the big comeback.
After the sideout made it 12-8, Kaylin Guthrie served three winners to make it 12-11 and force a UTPB timeout. The two teams swapped sideouts to make it 13-12, before a big kill by Kasi Conners ( 9 kills) evened the match at 13-13.
McMurry would score the next two points, with Kayla Hines finishing off the Falcons with a kill on match point for the 15-13 finale.
“We kind of got to a slow start,” said McM head coach Cammie Petree. “But the promotion time (10 minute break after set two) worked in our favor. We came back and got a little more momentum. Then in the fifth set the girls just hung on and refused to give in.
“We had some good, strong play there (in the last set). It was a great team effort to come back like that after being down two. We could have folded out here on the road, but it’s nice to know that we can dig down deep to pull it out.”
Peyton Evans led all attackers with a season-high 21 kills. Evans also hit for average, sporting a .375 attack percentage in 48 total attempts. She made it a double-double by also notching 23 assists, along with nine digs and five serve aces.
Hines finished the night with 12 kills and Harkins added 11. Taylor Seaton had six assisted blocks.