(DENVER, Colo.) — The Central Missouri Jennies took two hard-fought victories over ranked opponents Saturday, defeating No. 17 Lewis 25-22, 22-25, 28-26, 19-25, 15-11, and No. 21 Colorado Mines 25-21, 20-25, 19-25, 28-26, 15-12. The Jennies finish the tournament as the winners of the Bronze Division, going 2-2 over the past two days.
The Jennies (5-3) hit for a match-high .244 in the opening set against Lewis. A four-point run gave the Flyers a 10-7 lead, but UCM came back to tie the set at 14-14 after back-to-back sets were mishandled by the Lewis offense. Lewis reclaimed a 22-19 edge before the Jens reeled off six straight points to win the set, including a pair of kills from Bradye Peniston and a service ace from Annie Reilly.
Central Missouri kept the momentum through the break, taking the first five points of the second set, all scored off of kills. Lewis responded with a four-point run of its own, tying the match at 13-13. Three straight points late in the game turned the tide, from a 20-19 Jennies lead to 22-20 in favor of the Flyers. Carly Sojka and Aubri Renshawrecorded a pair of kills, but Lewis was able to hold on and win the game 25-22.
The closest game of the match saw a total of 16 tie scores, as nether side could put together a run of more than a few points. The Jennies climbed out to a 20-18 edge before a four-point run put the Flyers up two at 22-20. A pair of Flyer errors immediately tied the match back up at 22-22, causing Lewis to use a timeout. Out of the break, Sojka put down a kill to give the Jens a lead. Two kills from Lewis attackers made it a 24-23 game in favor of the Flyers, but a service error tied the set again. When an attack error gave the Jennies set point at 25-24, the Flyers used their second timeout, and responded with a kill to make it 25-25. The two sides traded kills until Peniston and Renshaw teamed up for back-to-back scores to claim the third set, 28-26.
After battling to take a two-sets-to-one lead, the Jennies were unable to finish off Lewis in the fourth, giving up eight of the last 12 points and falling 25-19.
The Jennies trailed early in the deciding fifth set, falling behind 4-1. UCM scored four of the next five, however, to tie the set at 5-5. The Flyers pulled ahead again just to have a service ace from Renshaw followed by a Lewis attack error and a solo block from Julia Bates put UCM in front at 10-9. The Jennies went on for score the next four points with a kill from Bates and two from Peniston as the Jens earned match point. Sojka put down the final kill in the 15-11 set victory.
Renshaw, Sojka and Bates all recorded double-doubles against the Flyers. Renshaw posted 14 kills along with 12 digs, while the freshman Sojka earned 16 kills to go with 19 digs. Bates picked up 49 assists as well as 11 digs. Peniston (15) and Taylor Goodness (11) also reached double-figure kills. Freshman Annie Reilly set a team-high with 30 kills in the match, while Mikalee Monachino recorded 15.
In addition, the win marked the 100th career victory for head coach Flip Piontek. Coach Piontek holds a 101-18 career record in his fourth season leading the Jennies, and is the fastest UCM volleyball coach to 100 victories in program history.
In the Bronze Division final match, the Jennies were pitted against the Colorado School of Mines. The Jens lead early in the opening set, before a run of five straight points gave Mines an 11-10 lead. After Peniston gave UCM a 15-14 edge with a kill, the Jennies ran off four straight to make it 19-14. Colorado Mines couldn’t catch up in time as Central Missouri took the set.
Once an Oredigger kill tied the second game at 18-18, Colorado Mines were able to claim the second game without much trouble, taking the five of the next six points and winning 25-20. In the third set, the Jens took a quick early lead with a Peniston kill at 2-1, but once the Orediggers tied the game at 4-4 off a Jennie attack error, UCM didn’t see the lead again through the rest of the set, falling 19-25, as Mines took a 2-1 lead in the match.
Fighting to stay alive in the match, the Jens found themselves down 15-10 in the fourth game. Back-to-back kills from Renshaw pulled her team back in the game, and another Mines error made it 15-13. Colorado Mines kept pushing, however, earning match point at 24-21. A pair of kills from Hillary McCormick and Lisa Moore pushed the Jennies to within one at 24-23, and a block from the senior duo tied the set at 24-24. UCM then saw two set points of their own before a service ace from McCormick at 28-26 forced a fifth set.
Playing in their sixth five-set match in the first eight matches of the season, the Jennies have had a crash course in late-match pressure. The Jens found themselves even with the Orediggers at 6-6 after a Mines service error, and they responded. Moore put down a kill to give UCM a 7-6 lead. An unforced error from Mines made it 8-6. Another kill from Moore gave the Jens a three-point lead in the shortened set at 9-6, and the Orediggers couldn’t recover. The Jennies closed out the match with the final two points, winning 15-12.
Aubri Renshaw and Carly Sojka again teamed up for double-doubles in the second match of the day. Renshaw finished with 14 kills and 13 digs, while Sojka had 13 kills and 15 digs. Bradye Peniston recorded the high mark of the day in kills, with 19, as well as a .621 hitting percentage. Julia Bates recorded a season-high 56 assists. Annie Reillyrecorded 15 digs, leading the back line.
The Jennies return to Warrensburg for the home opener against Missouri S&T at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11.