Meaningful games loom for the Bison
With October looming large, North Dakota State fall sports turn their attention to Summit League play.
For Bison soccer and volleyball, that means more home games now until the end of the season. Here are where both squads stand heading into conference play.
The Bison soccer squad has had a very streaky non-conference schedule but has mainly been trending up.
NDSU went undefeated in their first four games, including a tournament win at the TD Bank Classic in Vermont. The only blemish in the early season was a 1-1 draw with Montana at home.
A patchy run of form followed. NDSU only claimed one win out of its next four games.
The good news for the Bison is that it seems like the rough patch is over. The Bison knocked four goals in at Eastern Washington for a 4-2 win last Friday.
Senior Elyse Huber scored all four for the Bison, brining her team-leading total to nine goals on the season. Huber was the first Bison since 2003 to score four goals in one match.
Defensively, the Bison have been solid, led by the play of senior goalkeeper Monica Polgar. Polgar leads the Summit League with 62 saves so far this season, tallying three clean sheets as well. NDSU is giving up just under one goal per game.
NDSU have one more non-conference foe on tap, taking a trip to Utah Valley this weekend. The Bison host South Dakota on October 5 for the opener of Summit League play.
The Bison volleyball team wrapped up their non-conference slate with a winless weekend in Tennessee. NDSU was swept by Georgia Southern and Tennessee and picked up just one set against East Tennessee State.
NDSU hit the road and look to bounce back with a first opportunity against South Dakota State on Friday.
If there was anything to glean from the Bison’s brief three-game homestand, it’s that this team has talent to hang in the Summit League.
A year removed from becoming the first No. 6 seed to win a match at the Summit League tournament, NDSU looks to improve their position in the league. To do so, they will have to hold serve at home and sneak a few wins away from Fargo.
NDSU is 2-1 this year at home. The one loss was against an undefeated Cal team that NDSU pushed throughout the match.
In true road games, however, the Bison have just been able to notch a single win, the season opener against Toledo in August. In neutral site games, NDSU has a record of 2-4.
The evolution of sophomore setter Kalli Hegerle is key for this squad. The emergence of freshman setter Kelley Johnson has freed Hegerle up to attack more often. Hegerle has 100 kills already this season as compared to 79 all of last season. Both setters have over 200 assists so far this year.
The first Summit League match of the season at the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse will be October 4 against Purdue Fort Wayne.