It certainly was not easy, but the Peru State volleyball team game away with their first Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart) win of the season Tuesday night.
The Bobcats had to come from behind in the first set, led most of the way in the second set, and then had to score extra points in the third for their first Heart victory.
Peru State topped the visiting William Penn Statesmen 25-23, 25-16, 28-26 to improve to 4-13 overall and 1-3 in conference play. The Statesmen fell to 6-8 on the season and 1-4 in the Heart.
First Set Action
A kill by Tyra Mollhoff (Lincoln) off an assist from Cassidy Davis (Colorado Springs, Colo.) gave the 'Cats the first point of the game. The teams would basically trade points for the early part of the set with the Bobcats getting back within one at 9-8 when Mallory Matthies (Omaha) got a kill from Davis.

The Statesmen would then go on a 4-1 run to have their largest lead of the set at 13-9 before Claire Cudney (Marysville, Kan.) put down a kill from Davis. Darlene Quinonez Holguin (Anthony, N.M.) had a service ace to make it 13-11. William Penn would continue to lead and had a three-point advantage at 21-18 before Alyssa Childers (Lincoln) hooked up with Davis for a kill to make it 21-19. Cudney would get the next point on an assist from Pyper Roseberry (Ralston) to pull the 'Cats within one. A William Penn attack error tied the score at 21 apiece.
William Penn would score the next two points before Childers and Roseberry combined for a block to cut the gap to one. Dawson Sharman (Sidney) knotted the score with a kill from Quinonez Holguin. Cudney followed with a service ace to give Peru State set point. Roseberry finished the set with a kill from Quinonez Holguin.
Second Set Action
It was almost entirely Peru State in the second set. The only Statesmen lead came at 5-4 and then William Penn gave the 'Cats a point with a service error. Cudney followed with a service ace and the Bobcats were never threatened in the second set.
Back-to-back attack errors forced William Penn to take a timeout at 10-5 which was followed by another attack error on the Statesmen. The 'Cats would extend their lead to 18-10, the largest lead at that point in the set, on another error by William Penn.
The Statesmen would get within six at 20-14 before another unforced error made it 21-14. A kill by Matthies would end the set for the Bobcat win.
Third Set Action
The third set was a series of runs for both teams. After being tied at 1, 2, 4, and 5, a service ace by Holguin broke the tie. Peru State would go out to a 10-6 lead only to see the Statesmen come back to tie it at 10-10 and then eventually take a 14-11 lead.
William Penn would maintain the lead until Sharman put down the first of three straight kills to tie it at 18-18. Sharman's next two kills moved the 'Cats out to a 20-18 forcing a Statesmen timeout. Another Sharman kill gave the Bobcats a four-point advantage. Quinonez Holguin served up an ace and it appeared the 'Cats were in control. But, the Statesmen thought otherwise.
After Peru State scored the 24th point on a kill by Roseberry from Quinonez Holguin, William Penn would rattle off four-straight points to tie the set. Quinonez Holguin would get a setter dump to give Peru State its second match point, but an attack error tied it at 25 each. A kill from Matthies would give the 'Cats their third match point only to set the Statesmen get a kill to make it 26-26. Mollhoff would get a kill from Davis with Cudney ending the match with a kill from Davis as well.
Team Statistics
The Bobcats held William Penn to a .059 hitting percentage while hitting an even .200. Peru State finished with eight more digs at 70 while both teams finished with five total blocks. The 'Cats did have eight service aces compared to just three for the Statesmen.
Peru Individual Statistics
Cudney led the team with nine kills while Sharman and Roseberry each had eight and both were above .300 in hitting percentage. Matthies added seven while Mollhoff finished with five and hit .559.
Quinonez Holguin finished with 17 assists – one more than Davis.
Cudney and Quinonez Holguin each had three service aces while Birkle added two.
Sharman had a game-high 24 digs with Cudney adding 15. Quinonez Holguin contributed 11 and Birkle finished the night with nine.
Matthies was credited for a lone solo block and one block assist. Childers had four block assists while Roseberry had three block assists.
Upcoming Contests
Peru State will be hosting two non-conference opponents this weekend. On Friday, the University of St. Mary will be the opponent at 7 p.m. The Spires are presently 11-7 on the season having won their last two matches.
On Saturday, the Concordia Bulldogs will be the opponents at 2 p.m. The Bulldogs started the season with 12 straight wins, but have dropped their last two matches to ranked opponents.