William Woods began its third weekend tournament of the season Friday as it split the two matches.
The Owls swept Missouri Valley College (25-23, 25-23, 25-21) and lost in four sets to Saint Mary (19-25, 18-25, 25-19, 12-25).
Even though William Woods would beat Missouri Valley in straight sets, the Vikings would make the Owls work for it, starting in the first set. William Woods started the frame well enough with a 5-0 run on its way to an 8-6 lead after an Alli Gueck ace and three kills from Kassidy Phillips. The Vikings would take the lead, forcing the Owls to go on another 5-0 run to regain the lead at 13-9. Missouri Valley would go on a 6-0 run later in the set to lead 23-22, but Lauren Adams registered a kill and Tori Rosemann finished off the frame with an ace.
Missouri Valley would take the early advantage in the second set at 8-3, until errors allowed William Woods to tie it at 14. The Vikings had a 20-17 lead later on, but the Owls had a 6-0 run to make that lead disappear, led by two aces by Lauren Hiestand. The Owls would eventually take the set.
Aces gave William Woods an advantage once again in the third set as the Owls had a 5-0 lead and then an 8-1 lead. Missouri Valley came decreased the lead to 20-19, but William Woods had a block and kill from Hannah Kuehl as well as an ace from Blair Busenbark to sweep the match.
Phillips led William Woods with 11 kills, Rosemann led with 19 digs and Gueck led with her 19 assists. The Owls had 10 aces compared with the Vikings' four.
It was rougher sledding against Saint Mary as 10-6 and 19-13 leads by the Spires forced a couple of Owls' timeouts. William Woods had 10 aces in this match as well but also had some service errors than aided in Saint Mary's effort to close the first set in its favor.
William Woods managed to tie Saint Mary 6-6 but couldn't prevent a 9-2 run for the 15-8 Spires lead. That was enough as Saint Mary would continue to outnumber William Woods in the kills category, including seven of the last nine Spires points, to win the second set.
Saint Mary wrestled William Woods' early third-set lead away as the Spires took a 12-11 advantage. A 10-2 Owls run, backed by six William Woods kills, gave William Woods a 20-14 lead before securing the team's only set of the match with Lanie Lowry kill to end it.
The Owls were unable to get much going in the fourth set as Saint Mary sent kills after kill to take a 14-6 lead before a final one sealed the set and match victory.
The Spires had 57 kills compared with the Owls' 39 and also had three more aces than William Woods.
Lowry and Kuehl led William Woods with 10 kills each, Rosemann had 21 digs and Gueck and Tess Schannuth each had 12 assists.
Today, the Owls will take an 8-4 record into their final two games of the invitational with an 11 a.m. match against Graceland and a 5 p.m. match against Haskell Indian Nations University. William Woods came back from a two-set deficit to defeat Graceland on Sept. 4 while its meeting with Haskell Indian Nations will be the first between the teams since 2017.