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The No. 12 Jennies volleyball team went toe-to-toe with two more ranked opponents Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Colorado Premier Challenge. The Jennies salvaged a split with a 3-2 win over No. 20 Texas A&M-Commerce after falling in four sets to No. 9 Tarleton State. The split gives UCM a 5-3 record after the first two weeks.

Game Two: UCM 3, Texas A&M Commerce 2

(17-25, 25-23, 25-19, 15-25, 15-9)

What started out as a close set saw Texas A&M pull away midway through. UCM led 8-7 before the Lions scored three straight for a 10-8 lead. Still leading by one, 14-13, the Lions scored five straight to take their largest lead to that point, 19-13.

The Jennies needed to hang on in set two to even the match at one-apiece. Tied up at five, the Jens scored three straight, helped out by a pair of Lion attack errors. UCM never trailed after that, but the Lions didn’t make it easy. Leading 8-7, UCM opened up a four-point lead, 11-7 on three straight Commerce attack errors. The teams traded points for a while and nearing the end of the frame, UCM still had a four-point edge, 21-17. The Lions scored six of the next eight points to tie the set at 23, but the Jens held on with a kill from Ally Offerdahl and another Lion attack error for a 25-23 wint.

UCM trailed by three early on in set three, 10-8, but scored eight straight to take control.

The Lions broke an eight-all tie in the fourth set with a 7-2 stretch to take a 15-10 lead, forcing a Jennies timeout. This time, UCM was unable to make up the deficit as the Lions tied the match with a 25-15 win.

Central Missouri made quick work of the Lions in set five. Tied at two, UCM went on a 7-1 run to take a 9-3 lead and never looked back.

Game One: Tarleton State 3, UCM 1

(22-25, 25-27, 25-15, 25-27)

Central Missouri jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in set one, but were unable to hang on. Tarleton State used a 7-0 run to tie and take an 8-4 lead. The Texanns built their lead to as much as seven, 17-10 when the Jennies started to rally back. Trailing 19-13, UCM rattled off seven straight, tying on an ace from Rylee Neigenfind and taking a 20-19 lead on a block from Hannah Engelken and Offerdahl. Tied at 21 though, Tarleton State scored three straight for a 24-21 lead leading to a 25-22 final tally.

The second set again saw the Jennies take an early lead, this time 4-1. UCM led for much of the beginning of the set and a block from Engelken and Offerdahl gave UCM a 16-11 lead. A 4-0 stretch brought the Texanns to within one, 16-15 and forced a Jennies timeout, but coming out of the break, UCM maintained the lead. All tied a 20, the Jennies scored two straight with a TSU attack error and kill from Abby Skrastins for a 22-20 lead. Still up two and at set-point, 24-22, the Texanns got a kill and a block to tie at 24 and force extra points. UCM got the advantage at 25-24, but Tarleton scored three straight kills to steal the set 27-25.

Central Missouri never trailed in set three, jumping out to a 4-1 lead and cruising to a 25-15 set win to keep the match alive. UCM remained in control throughout the set, landing 16 kills.

For the first time in the match, Central Missouri did not score the opening point. UCM did however gain an advantage with a 5-1 run and took a 7-3 lead. The fourth set was the closest of them all with 10 ties and four lead changes. After Tarleton came back and tied the match at 12, the Jennies scored five straight with three service aces from Aubree Bell and two kills from Hannah Engelken for a 17-12 lead. UCM still led by as much as five, 21-16, when Tarleton stormed back. Up four, 22-18, the Texanns scored six straight to claim a 24-22 lead. Tied at 25, a UCM attack error and TSU ace ended the match, 27-25.

In the three sets the Jennies lost, UCM was outscored by only seven points.

The score was tied 23 times and there were 10 lead changes throughout the match.

The Texanns outhit UCM .205-.195, but the Jens landed three more kills, 56-53.

The Jens also scored more on the serve with 10 aces to the Texanns six and outblocked TSU 8-6.

Engelken landed 14 kills and hit .344 with seven total blocks. Neigenfind also put down 14 kills and picked up a double-double with 14 digs.

This was the Jennies 21st appearance in the annual Colorado Premier Challenge and have a record of 50-32 in the tournament.

Central Missouri will start MIAA play on the road on Friday, Sept. 20, against Missouri Western before playing its home opener at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, against Northwest Missouri State.

Sports Editor Randy Speer can be reached by emailing randy.speer@dsjnow.com, by calling (660) 747-8123 or on Twitter at @RandySpeer_DSJ.

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