Rangers push Bisons to fifth set in thrilling match


October 15, 2023

Desiree Morehead

Lady Ranger Brianda Diaz (6) dives for the ball during Thursday's game against Harding. The Rangers lost 2-3.

ALVA – Northwestern Oklahoma State went up against the conference-leading Harding on Thursday afternoon. The Rangers forced the match into the fifth set but the Bisons pulled off the 3-2 victory with a 15-10 fifth-set win.

The loss drops the Rangers to 7-12 overall with a 3-5 conference mark followed by Harding improving to 13-7 on the year with an 8-0 conference record.

Macy Shreffler and Erika Asencio Soriano finished with a team-high 19 kills. Abby Davis had 41 kills for the team lead, with Brianda Diaz at 25 digs. Carmae Jones finished with seven blocks.

Set One

The visitors started off with three straight kills to open the match: Skyler McKinnon with two kills and Ashley Lamkin with one. Mariela Jimenez put the Rangers on the board with a kill – Northwestern then trailed 3-1. The Rangers tied the set at 3-3 and a back-and-forth between the two teams ensued.

Harding took an 8-5 lead over the Rangers after an error. They then went on a 7-0 run, bringing the score to 12-5.

Northwestern stopped their run after an attack error, but the Bisons continued to answer, extending their lead to 20-13. Macy Shreffler ended that run with a kill, but Harding continued to answer as they closed the set on a 6-1 run, finishing the first set with a 25-16 victory and a 1-0 match lead.

Set Two

Asencio Soriano and Carmae Jones opened the second set with a momentum-shifting block that gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead. After Harding responded with two points, Northwestern answered back with a 4-0 run started by a Shreffler kill. Northwestern went for three straight points to an 8-5 lead.

A Bisons run brought them a 12-9 lead, but Northwestern jumped onto a 7-0 run started by an Asencio Soriano kill before Macy Shreffler's four straight finishes (off blocks from Ivanny Blackwood and Carmae Jones). Northwestern then led 15-12.

Harding ended the run there, but Northwestern did not let the momentum shift. The Rangers scored right away on a kill by Carmae Jones, taking a 16-13 lead again. Harding brought the set back within two at 21-19 but that was as close as they could get.

Northwestern finished on a 5-1 run started by Asecnio Soriano before Shreffler finished off the set with a hard kill. Northwestern won the set 25-20 and tied the match at 1-1.

Set Three

The teams traded service errors to start the next set. The two teams went back and forth to open, tying the score 3-3 with kill from Harding's Skyler McKinnon. However, Harding then gained a bit of space with a 6-4 lead. They gained more distance when a kill and a block took their lead to 9-5.

Harding and Northwestern traded point for point, and Harding maintained that lead to 14-10. Harding extended their lead with a few more points, taking a 18-12 lead over the Rangers. As the teams went point-for-point once more to 22-15, Harding closed the set out with a 25-16 victory, taking a 2-1 match lead over the Rangers.

Set Four

Northwestern, looking to extend the match, jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the fourth set with back-to-back kills by Shreffler, a block by Jimenez and a service ace from Blackwood. Harding, trying to play catch-up in this set, stopped the run with a kill, but Northwestern continued to extend the lead to 7-1.

Harding stormed back with a massive run to take a 9-8 lead, but Asencio Soriano stopped the run and evened the score.

Desiree Morehead

Lady Ranger Macy Shreffler (2) tries to get to the ball before it hits the ground. The Lady Rangers played against Harding, losing 2-3 in the five-set match.

But that started a 4-0 run and the Rangers took a 12-9 lead. This helped the Rangers gain much-needed momentum; Shreffler and two Ranger blocks started a 5-0 run that helped build an 18-11 lead. Harding closed the gap to 18-15, but this time Ivanny Blackwood was there to silence the comeback. She started a 3-0 run that put the Rangers back in front 21-15. Two service errors and a kill by Asencio Soriano had the Rangers in front 24-20. Northwestern evened the match at 2-2 with their set win of 21-15.

Set Five

In the decisive fifth set the Rangers once more opened with the first point after a major kill by Macy Shreffler and Mariela Jimenez. The two teams traded points, tying the score at 3-3 and eventually all the way to 6-6. Northwestern then jumped onto a 3-0 run with a kill by Soriano and a block by Jones and Blackwood. The Rangers led 9-7, but then Harding went on a 5-0 run that earned them a 12-9 lead. The Bisons closed it out with a 15-10 set victory and a 3-2 match win.


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