MARSHALL, Mo. - Danna Gomes had the match's only double-double with 32 assists and 10 digs, and Nada Meawad made her Park University volleyball debut with 18 kills, helping the third-ranked Pirates ease past Cumberland University, in Marshall, Missouri, 25-19, 25-17, 25-17, at the Missouri Valley College Invitational.
"We knew (Nada) was good coming in - she's played some very elite volleyball in her past - but to debut the way she did was something we really are excited about," said Park coach Mike Talamantes, whose won his seventh-straight season opener and Park's 12th-straight season-opening win, in all. "Cumberland was good, talented, and organized, and this is a good win for us. It's a great way to begin the season, and we have more work to do tonight against Avila."
The opening set went back-and-forth, staying within two points until Park broke a 10-all tie with a 5-0 run, getting Noura Meawad's kill to go up 15-10. Katherine Dudra had back-to-back kills to reach 20 points, up 20-14, and the Pirates survived a 4-0 run by the Phoenix to claim two of the last three points in the set on kills by Aneisha Ford and Nada Meawad, winning 25-19.
Park led wire-to-wire in the second and third, building an early 7-2 lead in the second before going in front 14-8 on a block by Ford and Noura Meawad, and that lead stretched to 17-9 after consecutive attacking errors on Cumberland's side of the net. The Pirates then went to the middle for a pair of kills - from Ford and from Maren Mair - to earn set point at 24-16, and Noura Meawad gave the Pirates a 2-0 match lead with a kill to claim the set, 25-17.
In the third set, Park's lead was again 7-2 and eventually 10-2 when Noura Meawad went up with Mair to block Cumberland's Jenna Goodman to take an eight point lead. Cumberland wasn't able to close the gap to any more than three points, getting a kill from Amanda Worrell to make it 19-16, but the Pirates answered that point with a match-ending 6-1 run, getting a Nada Meawad ace ahead of three-straight Phoenix errors to close the set and match.
Celina Monteiro also made a big debut for the Pirates with 17 digs in her first match at libero, playing on her former home court at Missouri Valley, while Dudra, Noura Meawad, and Mair each had six kills. Ford led the team at the net with four blocks. Cumberland didn't have a double-digit attacker, led by Masa Nalovic's seven kills and 13 digs from Taylor Kasper.
Park is back in action tonight, at 5 p.m., taking on Avila University, with live stats on Ottawa University's live stats portal at https://portal.stretchinternet.com/Ottawa/.