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Phoenix split Saturday matches at Missouri Valley College Invit.

Staff Reports • Aug 26, 2017 at 5:30 PM

MARSHALL, Mo. —Three Phoenix players tallied double-figure kills and three others added double-figure digs to lead Cumberland past Ottawa University, 3-1 in the first match of the day.

But the squad dropped a 3-0 decision to Missouri Valley College, falling short by no more than four points in each set in the second game of the day at the Missouri Valley College Invitational on Saturday.

The Phoenix (4-4) made a comeback in both the first and second sets, but dropped the third set before dominating the final frame, 25-15 to defeat Ottawa University (2-1), 3-1 in the first game of the day. Masa Nalovic recorded 14 kills, Kaleigh Lester added 10 and Isidora Markovic collected 12. Taylor Kasper posted 22 digs and Jena Goodman tallied 11.

Cumberland made a comeback in the first set, trailing 17-12 to Ottawa University before going on a 5-1 run to knot the frame at 19. The Phoenix tied the game three times after that, and finished with a kill from Markovic and Lester and won the frame off of two errors on the Braves to win the opening set, 25-23.

In the second frame Ottawa University took a five point advantage, 10-5 but the Phoenix scored three straight points and added another three after a kill by Taylor Fortner to tie the stanza at 15. A four point run for the squad gave them a 19-15 lead. Cumberland only allowed the Braves to score four more points in the set, before a kill from Nalovic, Lester and Abby Akins secured the second frame, 15-19.

Ottawa University took a 13-8 advantage in the third frame, before the CU responded with four points in a row to cut the deficit to three, 13-10. The Braves stretched the lead to 20-14 and the squad tacked on three more points in the frame. Three kills by Kaylee Whittington helped the Braves take the third set, 25-17.

Both teams went point-for-point in the fourth frame but Cumberland pulled away with five unanswered points for an 18-11 advantage. An error and a point by Taylor Fortner cut the Braves deficit to five. Two attack errors on Ottawa University, a point by Lester and a service ace by Kara Snell helped the Phoenix dominate the final frame by 10, 25-15.

Cumberland took a 7-2 run on the first frame but a few errors on the Phoenix played in Missouri Valley’s (8-0) favor pulling within two. CU tacked on three more points but the Vikings responded with six consecutive points to take the lead, 14-11. The squad made a comeback with a 7-3 run to even the score at 23, but fell just short off an error and a kill by Katarina Krstonosic to help the Vikings win the first frame, 25-23.

Six errors on the Phoenix led Missouri Valley to a 9-4 benefit but five points in a row for CU tied the score at nine in the second. Both teams went back-and-forth knotting the score on four separate occasions before Cumberland took a two point lead with two kills from Nalovic. An 8-1 spurt closed out the second frame for Missouri Valley, 25-21.

In the third set, Cumberland pulled ahead early with a few errors on the Vikings and a kill my Mikayla Wickham and Markovic. A kill by Lauren Eldridge and two errors on the Phoenix cut Missouri Valley’s deficit to three, 12-9. The Vikings completed a comeback with a 6-3 run to knot the game at 15. A point by Krstonosic and Haley Criswell gave the Vikings their first lead of the third set. The squad pulled within three but Missouri Valley closed out the final set with a kill by Eldridge and Krstonosic to send them to a 3-0 victory over the Phoenix.

Nalovic led the squad with 10 kills and Rachel Clement posted 14 assists. Dakota Santore tallied 12 kills and Madison Shermon collected 12 digs.

Cumberland will return to the court on Wednesday to take on host Bethel University in McKenzie at 6 p.m.

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