The North Dakota State Bison were able to hold off Jackrabbits of South Dakota State from making a comeback as the Bison won 3-1 (25-22, 25-6, 21-25, 25-22) this past Thursday, November 10. With the win, the Bison have won six straight and seven of their last eight matches.
The opening set was back-and-forth. McKenzie Burke came up with three of her career-high of eight kills as the Bison looked to jump to the lead. The set consisted of nine ties and five lead changes. The Bison were able to take the lead at 22-21. Ashlynn Smith, of SDSU, tied the set for the ninth time with an attack to make it 22-all. Burke clinched the set 25-22 for the Bison.
The Bison took their momentum in the second set while going on a 15-point run behind Morgan Morgan. She served for a career high for a match of five services aces in the set. The fifth was the final point in the set. The Bison hit .625, 10 kills on 16 attacks with no errors. Contributions came from Emily Minnick, Hadley Steffen, and Brianna Rasmusson. Minnick and Rasmusson would combine for four blocks in the set.
The Jackrabbits came out firing on all cylinders after the break. After a competitive start of the set that saw five ties and three lead changes. SDSU took a five all tie to build leads of 18-11 and 20-12. SDSU was led by Sierra Peterson and Nazya Thies who each had five kills in the set. Ashley Beaner contributed for four kills and Makenzie Hennen added three kills of her own as the Jackrabbits took the set 25-21 to force a fourth set.
SDSU jumped out to a 17-10 lead in the fourth. It seemed they were going to force a fifth set. The Bison battled back and took a lead of 22-20 after kills from Monica Claxton and Minnick, to go along with Ali Moody. Burke would come back in and came up with some key attacks. Steffen’s block would put the Bison up by two. Three more kills by Minnick, Rasmusson, and Miron put the set and match away as the Bison took the set 25-22.
Minnick connected seven of her 17 kills in the final set as she hit .586 and had five blocks. Steffen had 11 kills and 14 digs completing her 10th ‘double-double’ of the season. Rasmusson finished with her 10th ‘double-double’ as she finished with 32 assist and came up with 14 digs as well. Mikaela Purnell had 17 digs as Emily Milligan added 13.
The Bison (11-4 SL, 13-16) took on first place Denver (12-2 SL, 20-6) to finish regular season play Sunday November 13th at 1 p.m.
Denver is set to play second place South Dakota (11-3 SL, 22-6) Friday November 11 at South Dakota. These games have huge playoffs contributions, as all three teams are looking to earn a top two spots in the conference and get a first-round bye in the tournament. Look for the outcome of the game in and preview of playoffs in Thursday’s edition.