This past weekend the Bison volleyball team hosted the NDSU Classic at the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse. Six teams were in attendance — South Dakota State Jackrabbits, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Northern Illinois Huskies, Bradley Braves, UTEP Miners along with North Dakota State.
The Bison held their home opener Friday night against Texas Tech. The Bison jumped out to an early 2-0 (25-21, 27-25) lead after the first two sets. Both sets were back and forth as both teams were hitting .209 going in to the break.
The Bison would drop the next three sets losing 2-3 (25-21, 27-25, 22-25, 12-25, 11-15). In the third set, the score was tied 14 times. The last tie came at 21-21 after a kill from Bison’s Jessica Jorgensen. The Red Raiders would then go on a 4-1 run to win the third set.
In the fifth and final set, the Bison and Red Raiders were tied five times. The last time being 6-6 after an attack by the Bison’s Hadley Steffen. Texas Tech was able to take advantage of Bison attack errors and build a 13-8 lead winning the set 15-11.
The Bison were out hit .139 to .260. Emily Minnick had a team high of 14 kills, followed by Steffen and Emily Miron who each had 13, and Alex Erickson who had 12.
The Bison looked to turn things around on Saturday with two games. The first game was against Northern Illinois. NDSU would end up losing this match 1-3 (13-25, 25-23, 19-25, 13-25). Not a whole lot went the Bison’s way in this match. In the second set the Bison won 25-23 with a hitting percentage of .259 to NIU .118. NDSU finished with a .048 hitting percentage to NIU with a .241 percentage.
Jorgensen finished with a team high of nine kills followed by Minick with six. Brianna Rasmusson did her thing on offense with 26 assists.
“The focus tonight was that we need to focus on our volleyball. We need to take care of our serve and our pass, that we can control to give our offense the opportunity,” Bison Head Coach Kari Thompson said.
With that being said, NDSU was able to get its first win of the classic and season with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-14, 25-17) sweep against Bradley.
The Bison hit the ball well with a .423 percentage in the third and season high .293 for the match compared to .077 for Bradley.
The senior outside hitter Steffen celebrated her birthday with a team high of .333 hitting percentage (10-2-24).
Steffen was asked what was the message like in between sets two and three after what happened.
“Yeah we are winning three, we got to work hard, don’t let up, don’t let them get any motivation to win at all,” Steffen said.
Senior middle blocker Miron was named to the all-tournament team and finished with a hitting percentage of .412 (8-1-17).
A high note to take away from this weekend was the solid consistence performance by Alex Erickson.
“Yeah, definitely feel more confident and T (Coach Thompson) has confidence in me as well. It’s just nice to know that the team and our coaches have our back and it’s just fun to go out there,” Erickson said.
The Bison’s next game is Friday, Sept. 9 at 3:30 p.m. versus Montana. This is game one of a three game weekend at the Cyclone Invitational in Ames, Iowa.