Thursday’s frustration turned to jubilation on Saturday for Northwestern State volleyball in a 3-1 (17-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-22) win versus Houston Baptist.
The Lady Demons showed the composure and resolve that successfully carried them through a tough non-conference schedule. Late runs in both the third and fourth sets put the match away for the Lady Demons and evened their Southland record at 1-1 after the opening weekend.
“What stood out to me was we had composure, passion and energy when we needed it,” coach Sean Kiracofe said. “They were able to go back and forth between those emotions.
We learned a lot of good things in set one and made a few little adjustments for the rest of the match. The girls did a really good job of putting that into practice.”
In a close first set, a late 7-1 run propelled the Huskies to victory. Four kills and a pair of NSU errors aided the cause that put the Demons behind, dropping the opening frame 25-17.
Any momentum HBU had from the late rally and win was quickly taken on the serve rotation of Megan Lohmiller. The Lady Demons sprinted to a 12-3 lead with nine straight points that included three of Alexis Warren’s seven kills in the second set.
NSU held the commanding lead until a 5-0 run by HBU cut the advantage down to four. With a 22-17 lead late in the set, the Huskies made another push and evened the score at 22 after three straight NSU attack errors. Unphased, Kourtney Seaton and Hannah Brister gave the Lady Demons set point with back-to-back kills, with Brister hammering the set winner moments later.
In another tight set, HBU held a 20-17 lead late in the third. NSU’s composure late in the third carried them when they needed it most. Kills from Warren, Brister, and Reagan Lee engineered an 8-1 set winning run, giving the Lady Demons the 2-1 edge in the match.
“We’ve been in tough situations in the preseason,” Kiracofe said. “What happened Thursday night was uncharacteristic and something that I did not expect. It was going to be important for us to see how we came out today because Houston Baptist is good. For us to turn around and be efficient, be put in some bad situations and to come back, was big for us.
The fourth set played out much like the third with HBU leading late 19-17. Three clutch kills from Brister pushed the Lady Demons to a two-point lead, swinging the momentum quickly back to NSU.
“It’s a progressive trust with the setters,” Brister said. “Being able to put those balls away in those moments is great but it’s about doing that on a consistent basis.”
Brister added two more down the stretch of the fourth, giving her the fourth 20-kill match of the season and more importantly the first conference win for the Lady Demons.
NSU travels to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Incarnate Word next week as they continue Southland Conference play.
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