by Ed Beach
The Drury Panthers opened the DU Invitational Tournament and their home schedule with a 3-0 win over Colorado Mesa at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on Thursday. Drury made quick work of the Mavericks winning 25-14, 25-18, and 25-16 and completed the sweep in one hour and 12 minutes.
Freshman Julia McCown led Drury’s attack with 13 kills and posted .550 hitting percentage. Junior Reba Thomsen added 31 assists and nine digs, Paige Perry contributed 14 digs, and Katie Gorman came up with 13 digs.
“We were a team with good energy tonight,” said Drury head coach Jenifer Bahner. “We’ve been struggling to find some consistency on the court and comfort with the people around us. Tonight we made some defensive plays that we hadn’t been making before, and I was excited to see that scrappiness come back.”
After winning the first two sets, Drury owned a 10-9 lead in the third and then pulled away with a 10-2.
The Panthers improved to 2-4 while the Mavericks fell to 3-2. Both teams advanced to the NCAA-II tournament last year, and both received votes in the national poll this week.
The Drury Invitational continues on Friday with six matches starting at 9 a.m. with Colorado Mesa against Truman State. The Panthers play at 11 a.m. when they face Missouri Western State, and will return to the floor at 7 p.m. to play seventh-ranked Northern State.