THREE UP, THREE DOWN: BULLDOGS SWEEP MISSOURI-ST. LOUIS
Saturday, September 1, 2012
In the six sets played by the University of Minnesota Duluth since narrowly escaping a disastrous season-opening upset, the Bulldogs have made Friday's scare look more like a wake-up call than a sign of things to come. No. 7 UMD picked up its second conesuctive sweep Saturday morning, notching a 3-0 (25-22, 25-17, 25-19) victory over the University of Missori-St. Louis in Kirksville, Mo.
The Bulldogs were spotted the early lead in the opening set thanks in large part to several Triton errors. Down 6-2 early, Missouri-St. Louis righted the ship and climbed back into a tie by the middle portion of the frame. The two teams matched one another stride-for-stride until UMD pulled away from a 15-15 stalemate, taking four of the next five points. The Tritons would make it interesting late, but could not force extra points, eventually dropping the first game on an errant attack.
Set No. 2 played out in similar fashion at the beginning, with the Bulldogs jumping out to an identical 6-2 lead. Missour-St. Louis again fought back to knot things up (this time at 9-9) but faltered in the latter portion of the frame. UMD regained the momentum, rattling off four successive points and seven of the next 10 to build a 16-12 advantage. The Bulldogs led by four or more the rest of the way, comfortably rolling to the set victory.
Holding a commanding two-set lead, UMD again overpowered the Tritons in the latter portion of the third set. With the Bulldogs clinging to a 9-8 lead, a 9-2 UMD run quickly blew the match open. Middle blockers Kalli Lochner and Monica Turnercombined to win five points over that stretch before Turner ended the match moments later with her eighth kill.
Outside hitter Kate Lange paced the offense (as she has in all three matches thus far in 2012) with 11 kills to go along with 10 digs for her second double-double of the year. Lochner joined Lange as the only other Bulldog to reach double figures in kills with 10, adding a dig and two solo blocks. Sophomore Jaclyn Barrette, making her third straight start at setter, passed out 35 assists and came away with 13 digs. Sophomore libero Julie Rainey scooped a game-high 15 digs in the winning effort.
UMD (3-0), which hit .296 and combined for six blocks, is now 18-1 in August or September tournaments since 2008. The Bulldogs finish play at the Days Inn Bulldog Invitational (hosted by Truman State University) Saturday evening against Ashland University.
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