After two very tight first sets, the Mount Mercy (Iowa) Mustangs (MMU) pulled away in the third set for the sweep of the home-standing Peru State Bobcat volleyball team.
 
The Mustangs won 25-23, 25-23, 25-13 on Senior Day for the Peru State team.
 
Mount Mercy improved to 20-11 on the season and 10-8 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart). Peru State fell to 10-24 on the year and 6-11 in conference play.
 
First Set Action
 
A block gave the Mustangs the first point of the set which saw 12 ties. The set was then tied on a hitting error by Mount Mercy. MMU would regain the lead with a kill, but Alyssa Childers (Lincoln) got a kill from Darlene Quinonez Holguin (Anthony, N.M.). After the Mustangs rattled off four straight points, Mallory Matthies (Omaha) stopped the run on an assist from Quinonez.
 
Later, Peru State would tie it at 7-7 after an attack error on Mount Mercy. Later, a kill by Cheyenne Birkle (Holden, Mo.) on an assist from Alexandra Chavarria (Hollister, Calif.). Chavarria would then put down a kill off an assist from Cassidy Davis (Colorado Springs). The Bobcats would have their largest lead at 12-9 on a kill by Childers from Birkle.
 
A five-point run by the Mustangs gave them a lead they would not relinquish; however, the Bobcats would eventually tie it at 15-15. Again, Mount Mercy would go out to a 23-19 lead, before the 'Cats would fight their way back to tie it. A kill by Chavarria was followed by an attack error. Sarah Brown (Seward) then got a kill forcing a timeout by MMU. Chavarria would get a kill from Davis to knot it up only to see the Mustangs score the final two points for the set win.
 
Second Set Action
 
Although the Mustangs led for most of the early part of the set, it would be tied nine times after the Bobcats would tie it at 9-9.
 
Peru State's only lead came at 14-13 after Claire Cudney (Marysville, Kan.) got a kill from Quinonez Holguin. The Mustangs would eventually lead by five at 21-16 before the 'Cats would try to fight their way back into the set.
 
A kill by Tyra Mollhoff (Lincoln) from Davis would knot it up at 21-21 only to see MMU score the next three points. Peru State would stave off the first set point with a Chavarria kill from Davis after which the Mustangs would call a timeout. A block by Childers would make it 24-23, but the Mustangs would get a kill to end the set.
 
Third Set Action
 
After the Mustangs scored the first point of the third set, Chavarria and Davis would hook up for a kill to tie it. Cudney would give Peru State the lead, which ironically was their last of the match. Six straight points by Mount Mercy would give them a lead that the 'Cats could not overcome.
 
Team Statistics
 
Neither team hit the ball particularly well as the Mustangs finished with a .145 hitting percentage compared to .060 for the Bobcats.
 
Mount Mercy had four service aces and three errors while Peru State had two aces and two errors.
 
Both teams finished with 70 digs, but Mount Mercy out-blocked the Bobcats six to four.
Peru Individual Statistics
 
For the second-straight match, Chavarria led the Bobcats in kills as she finished with 14 while hitting .423. Matthies added six while Mollhoff finished with five.
 
Davis led the team with 15 assists while Quinonez Holguin added 11.
 
Davis and Birkle were each credited with one service ace.
 
Brown finished with a team-high 16 digs. Cudney and Birkle each had 13 digs while Alexis Cox (Brighton, Colo.) added 12. Quinonez Holguin was one shy of double-digit digs.
 
Matthies had one solo block and one block assist. Childers had three block assists while Cudney added two.
 
Upcoming Contest(s)
 
Peru State has one remaining match which was one that had been moved due to the team's bus breaking down early in October. They will be heading to Culver-Stockton Tuesday night to face the Wildcats at 6 p.m. The Wildcats are 10-18 and 4-13 in the Heart.
 
It would appear the match Tuesday night in Canton, Mo., will have an impact on the final spot open for the conference post-season tournament. A win by the Bobcats should get them in. A loss would be the end for Peru State in 2019.
 
The Heart championships will begin on Saturday, November 9, at the highest-finishing teams.