No. 3 UMD OVERCOMES SLUGGISH FIRST SET IN 3-1 WIN OVER ST. CLOUD STATE
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Another sluggish start was not enough to thwart the University of Minnesota Duluth Tuesday evening in a 3-1 victory over St. Cloud State University. The Bulldogs fell behind after a sloppy first game, but stormed back to win the ensuing three frames en route to the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference win at Halenbeck Hall.
Neither team was able to sustain momentum for the majority of a heated opening set that featured six ties. An attack error put No. 3 UMD behind the Huskies 14-13, and the Bulldogs were unable to regain the lead in the set. A 20-20 deadlock was the closest the Bulldogs would get, at which point St. Cloud State went on a 3-0 run. Moments later, a Husky attack found its way through the UMD defense, giving the first game to St. Cloud State.
Behind after the first set for just the second time all season, the Bulldogs adjusted in a big way between games. UMD smothered St. Cloud State in the final three sets, winning each by 11 points or more. The Huskies attacked at a negative clip in each of the last three frames, and finished the match with 28 kills and 28 errors for a .000 combined hitting percentage.
Just hours after being named the American Volleyball Coaches Association Player of the Week, junior outside hitter Kate Lange turned the tide of the entire match in the second set. Coming in to serve with her team leading 17-14, Lange got on a roll, causing all kind of problems for the Husky defense. The Bulldogs took the game by rattling off nine consecutive points behind the jump-serve of the 2011 All-American, shifting all the momentum UMD's way. The nation's leader in kills per set, Lange finished with a match-high 20 kills (her third straight outing with 20-plus kills) and 10 digs for her sixth double-double of the year.
Rookie middle blocker Monica Turner also put up a big night, posting eight kills and a staggering eight total blocks. Another defensive catalyst, sophomore libero Julie Rainey scooped a match-high 21 digs while freshman setter Ashley Hinsch passed out 43 assists. Freshman outside hitter Mariah Scharf was remarkably effective in her fourth match of the season, smashing 13 kills on 30 swings. Prior to Tuesday, Scharf had a combined three kills to her collegiate credit.
UMD (12-0 overall and 3-0 in the NSIC) hit a collective .213 and racked up 12 team blocks. St. Cloud State (5-6; 1-2) was held to just 28 kills and registered eight blocks as a team.
The Bulldogs will put their perfect record on the line when they head on the road for a pair of NSIC engagements this weekend. UMD will take on Southwest Minnesota State University and the University of Sioux Falls this Friday and Saturday.
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