Mystics Drop Opener at National Volleyball Tournament

Mystics NJCAA
Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 12:07 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Bismarck State College’s run toward an NJCAA Division II national volleyball championship ended Thursday with a 3-1 loss to defending national runner-up Cowley College.

Led by Rachele Tessari and Anna Kiss, the Tigers took the match 25-17, 25-20, 23-25, 25-11. They opened the match with a hitting percentage of .625 in the opening set and posted an incredible .722 with just one hitting error in the final set. Tessari had 16 kills, five aces, five assists, five digs and three blocks. Kiss had 15 kills and seven digs.

Ironically, the only set the Mystics won was their poorest hitting set at just .143. Nevertheless, they rallied from deficits of 8-2 and 11-7 to win the third set 25-23 and extend the match. BSC will play Muskegon (Mich.) Community College in the consolation round at 10 a.m. today at Alliant Energy Powerhouse Arena. It needs a win to continue on in the tournament.

Sophomore hitter Morgan Wheeler continued her excellent postseason play with a team-high 13 kills. Super sophomores Jenna Rust, Reile Payne and Greta Gibson also came up big. Rust and Payne had 11 kills and Payne added eight digs. Gibson had six kills.

Mon-Dak Conference and Region XIII Player of the year Cam Beasley had 43 assists, seven digs and three aces.

“We were ready for what they brought. They just had two really fast middles that we aren’t used to and it’s hard to learn on the fly how to defend that,” BSC coach Kyle Kuether said. “That third set our middles did a good job of slowing their middles down. That fourth set slipped away from us.”

BSC led 6-5 and 11-10 in the first set. After a six-point run by the Tigers, BSC crept within 19-16 but got no closer. The second in a series of long runs staked Cowley to an 11-4 lead in the second set before another BSC surge got it within 19-17. The Tigers pulled away to go up 2-0.

The Mystics put up a spirited fight in the third set despite falling behind 8-2. They completed their comeback when Beasley’s ace tied it at 21-21. Back-to-back kills by McAllister gave the Mystics the set.

“It was a good overall match. Obviously, I’m not happy we lost, but overall, there wasn’t really anything else we could have adjusted for. Cowley just played really well,” Kuether said.

This is BSC’s third national tournament berth. In 2019, the Mystics under coach Jenny Walsh went to nationals where they won their first two matches before finishing fourth in Charleston, W.V. Before that, Cynthia Graham took BSC to nationals in Miami for the first time in 1985, but without All-American Charlotte Rothermal due to a broken finger, the Mystics went 0-3.

Bismarck State College 17 20 25 11 Cowley College 25 25 23 25.

Bismarck State: Kills – Morgan Wheeler 13, Jenna Rust 11, Reile Payne 11, Greta Gibson 6, Paige McAllister 4, Kiara Johnson 1. Assists – Cam Beasley 43, Eden Schlinger 1, Johnson 1. Digs – Schlinger 11, Payne 8, Beasley 7, Johnson 4, Wheeler 2, Rust 2. Blocks – McAllister 4, Cheyenne Lang 1, Payne 1, Rust 1. Aces – Beasley 3, Schlinger 1, Lang 1.

Cowley College: Kills – Rachele Tessari 16, Anna Kiss 15, Laci Beougher 11, Gyongyver Araczki 10, Landry Cate 6, Vivianna Solis 1. Assists – Solis 51, Tessari 5, Sydney Unruh 2, Sadie Kabisch 1. Digs – Unruh 22, Kiss 7, Beougher 7, Solis 7, Tessari 5, Araczki 2, Cate 2. Blocks – Cate 4, Tessari 3, Kiss 2, Araczki 2. Aces – Tessari 5, Solis 3, Kiss 3, Beougher 1.

Records: Bismarck State 33-4, Cowley College 39-3.