Despite a slow start, NDSU volleyball opened Summit League play with a win at South Dakota Saturday. The Coyotes surged in the opening set, but the Bison rattled off three straight set wins to win 3-1 (11-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-22).
In the first set, the Bison hitting percentage was the most glaring statistic. NDSU launched 41 attacks, but came out with just seven kills and just as many errors for a 0.000 percentage.
USD meanwhile hit 0.333 in the opening set for a commanding first set win.
In the second set, the NDSU offense found its swing. After USD tied the set at 9-9, the Bison spread out their offense. Six players registered kills in the set, with Brianna Rasmusson finishing off the set with a pair of kills to even the match.
NDSU improved their hitting percentage to 0.287, while USD had 10 attack errors on its way to hitting just 0.087.
The third set saw both teams combine for 15 errors. Following three ties early in the set, the Bison worked in some room to hold the lead from 8-8 on. A service ace from McKenzie Burke along with a pair of kills from Rasmusson gave the Bison breathing room.
Bella Lien and Jessica Jorgensen added kills before Burke would finish the set with a kill.
The final set saw four ties while the Coyotes pushed the Bison to the end. Erika Gelzinyte was influential early in the set for NDSU. The senior was in on the set’s opening block, then followed with a kill on the next point.
Gelzinyte added a pair of aces on the serve as NDSU pushed the lead to 8-6.
Down the stretch, Burke, Jorgensen and Gelzinyte added kills before Lien killed the match off.
The Bison committed just two attack errors in the fourth, finishing with a 0.273 hitting percentage.
Gelzinyte led the Bison with 15 kills in the match. Burke added another 11, while Lien joined in on the double-digit club with 10.
Rasmusson was the focal point for both the offense and the defense on the night. The senior tallied a career-high 26 digs to lead the team. She also led the Bison in assists on the night with 33.
Mikaela Purnell added 20 more digs for the Bison. Burke collected 15 digs to register the double-double.
NDSU moves to 1-0 in the Summit League and 10-3 overall.
The Bison traveled to Brookings to take on SDSU Sunday evening. NDSU is set to return to Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse Friday night to host the University of Denver. The Pioneers were picked to finish first in the preseason Summit League poll after winning the Summit last year.