Murray cruises to regional semifinal
MURRAY — The Murray Lady Mustangs, with a first-ever state tournament berth in their sights, efficiently moved one step closer with a 25-8, 25-10, 25-16 sweep of Southeast Warren in a Class 1A Region 3 quarterfinal match here Tuesday.
Southeast Warren ended its season at 5-19, with a second loss to Murray. The first was a 2-0 sweep at the Wayne of Corydon tournament.
Murray, meanwhile, is sailing along at 26-3, despite dropping out of the state ratings last week after losing to No. 15 Martensdale-St. Marys.
Hannah Barber had 14 kills and Madison Gonseth served 25-of-25 with seven aces Tuesday in disposing of the Warhawks. Kate Patton set 22 assists.
“They have a lot of height, but they just don’t have any of the real good hitters,” said Murray coach Jerry Shields. “We had a good night at the net, and Madison had a career night serving. We had balanced attacking.”
There are four solid teams left in the region, but none are state-rated. On the other side of the bracket, Stanton faces Griswold in a Friday semifinal after sweeping Bedford, 25-16, 15-15, 25-10.
Murray faced Stanton in a preseason scrimmage and lost two close sets, 21-18, 21-18.
“We think it’s do-able, if we can get there,” Shields said.
Murray or East Union will play in the regional final Nov. 6 at Creston against Stanton or Griswold. East Union swept Orient-Macksburg Tuesday, all by 25-7 scores.
East Union travels to Murray for a 7 p.m. semifinal match Friday, the first meeting this season between the neighboring schools.
“They have beaten us out the past two years,” Shields said. “They went to state two years in a row, and last year lost to Grandview Park Baptist after beating us.”
East Union, 16-14, is led by senior Kelsey Hoff with 187 kills. Hoff, Kali Mertens and Emily Eckels have combined for 102 ace serves.
“The Hoff girl is a good hitter,” Shields said. “They do a lot of tipping. We’re going to watch some game film before practice (Thursday). They’re just a couple games over .500, but they’ve been playing a lot better in the last eight to 10 matches.”
Murray 3, SE Warren 0
Serving (aces) — Madison Gonseth 25-25 (7), Cheyanne Ashby 8-8 (3), Hannah Barber 10-12 (2), Chellsea Jones 8-8 (1), Kate Patton 9-9. Team 72-74 (17).
Setting (assists) — Patton 44-46 (22).
Attacks (kills) — Barber 20-23 (14), Ashby 13-14 (7), Megan Oswald 6-6 (3), Jade Lecy 5-7 (3). Totals 51-59 (30).
Blocks (solo-assists) — Jade Lecy 3, Madison Gonseth 2, Megan Oswald 2.
Digs — Barber 5, Oswald 5.
Serve receive — McKenzie Case 7-9, Oswald 6-6, Barber 5-5.
East Union 3, O-M 0
LENOX — East Union quickly dispatched of Orient-Macksburg here Tuesday in a Class 1A regional quarterfinal match, winning 25-7, 25-7, 25-7.
The Eagles had a strong night at the service line, finishing with a total of 24 aces. Kalie Mertens served 19-of-19 with eight aces and Emily Eckels served 13-of-13 with seven aces. Courtney Phelps finished 21-of-21 with five aces.
Mertens also finished with a team-high 13 kills, followed by Kelsey Hoff with six and Chay Blondowski with four. Phelps set 19 assists for the Eagles.
Brittany Malone led the team with 12 digs. The Eagles finished the night with a mark of 93 percent on serve receive.
East Union, now 16-14 for the season, will travel to Murray on Friday to face the 26-3 Mustangs in the Class 1A Region 3 semifinals. The winner of that match will take on either Stanton or Griswold in the regional finals in Creston on Nov. 6.