Hornets Sting Bronchos in Loss

The University of Central Oklahoma’s volleyball team fell to Emporia State University on Saturday night in the regular season final after losing a two-set lead.

The No. 17-ranked Bronchos were fighting for their 22nd sweep of the season before the Hornets took the match. UCO got ahead early, winning the first two sets 25-22, 28-26, but fell behind when ESU won the next three sets 31-29, 25-20, 15-11 to win the match 3-2.

“That was a disappointing loss,” said head coach Edgar Miraku. “It was a battle all night and [I]give credit to Emporia for the way they played. We just have to move on and get ready for the conference tournament.”

The Bronchos committed 26 attack errors in the match, but still had some strong player stats.

Haley Deschenes had a career-high 21 kills to lead the Bronchos. Karyn Chrisman added 10 kills and four assisted blocks. Taylor Bevis had nine kills, 28 digs and three blocks. Jordan Spence added eight kills and six blocks and Malia Kaaiohelo had seven kills and five blocks.

“Obviously it isn’t the turnout we were wanting for the last regular season conference match,” Spence said. “But…we still have a chance to play them again later in the tournament. [We] just [have to] focus on the next match.”

Emporia started off strong in the first set and led 7-4 when UCO had a 5-0 run, where Chrisman gained two of her kills. The Bronchos were then up 9-7, but the Hornets came back to gain the lead again to bring the score to 19-17.

Spence and Bevis contributed consecutive kills to tie the score. Deschenes added two more kills to the set and the Bronchos came out on top at 25-22.

In the second set, UCO had the lead 13-10, but ESU came back with a 10-1 scoring streak that brought the score to 20-14. It remained close as the score went up to 24-19 when the Bronchos had six unanswered points bringing them back in the lead at 25-24. The score tied again at 25 and at 26 before the Bronchos gained the lead and won the set 28-26 on a Hornet attack error.

The Bronchos were behind early in the third set, but gained the lead 21-17 from a 4-0 streak. The Hornets responded with a 4-0 streak that put the score at 21-all. It was tied again at 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28 before Spence had a kill that put the Bronchos ahead at 29-28. The set was close but ESU ended it with three points to win 31-29.

Emporia State never trailed in the fourth set after they started at 7-1 and fell 25-20.

The Bronchos started off behind in the fifth set before coming back to tie it 8-8. Emporia had the next three points and continued on in the set to finish it 15-11.

UCO will be playing Tuesday at 7 p.m. at home against Lidenwood University as one of the first-round games of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Postseason Tournament.

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