THIRD-RANKED BULLDOGS STAY UNDEFEATED WITH SWEEP OF SIOUX FALLS
Friday, September 21, 2012
Short rest and a 400-mile road trip served as reminders of the physical strain endured throughout a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference season, but had no ill effects on the University of Minnesota Duluth. Another forceful offensive display powered the undefeated Bulldogs to a 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 25-8) victory over the University of Sioux Falls at Stewart Center Friday night.
No stranger to sub-par starts, No. 3 UMD (13-0 overall; 4-0 NSIC) quickly fell behind 4-1 in the opening game. Sioux Falls (8-5; 0-4) would not hold the upper hand long, hoaswever, with the Bulldogs recovering to draw even at 7-7 a few points later. The two clubs traded punches until UMD pulled away from an 11-11 deadlock, putting the set out of reach (at 20-13) on a 9-2 run. The Cougars made things interesting late in the first game with a miniature run of their own, but could pull no closer than within four points before dropping the set.
Sioux Falls held the edge once again early in the second frame. Holding a 6-5 lead, the Cougars claimed four consecutive points to get back into the match. It took some time to make the proper adjustments, but the Bulldogs righted the ship before Sioux Falls could threaten to take the set. UMD pulled even multiple times, finally shaking free from an 18-18 tie to take the game 25-21 and with it, a commanding 2-0 lead.
The Bulldogs put the pedal to the floor on the other side of the intermission, taking 11 of the first 12 points and finishing the match on cruise control. The Cougars had no answer for the UMD offense, which hit its way over, around and through the Sioux Falls blockers to the tune of 42 kills on 89 swings.
Rookie setter Ashley Hinsch and the Bulldogs went to junior Kate Lange (the reigning American National Coaches Association Player of the Week) early and often in the first frame, setting their star outside hitter up for seven of her match-high 17 kills. Hinsch collected 35 assists on the evening in leading UMD to a .371 attack percentage. Senior middle blocker Kalli Lochner slammed down nine kills against just one error, adding a pair of block assists.
The Bulldogs will take the court and look to keep their unblemished record in tact again Saturday against No. 4 Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minn. The highly anticipated NSIC matchup is slated to get underway at 3:00 p.m.
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