A tough defeat ends a tremendous season for the North Dakota State University volleyball team
The Bison’s season-long campaign has closed with a loss to Davidson College, 3-2, in the first round of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship on Friday, Dec. 2. in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The Bison took the first set against Davidson, 25 -23, with 12 kills. The Wildcats fought their way back in a clean second set with 12 kills and only three errors. Davidson won the set, 25-18.
NDSU pummeled Davidson in the third with a 25-12 massacre that left Davidson in the dust. The Bison combined for 12 kills with only two errors.
Even after a dominant showing in the third set, things started to unravel for the Bison. In tightly contested fourth set, the Wildcats prevailed once again with a 25-23 set win. NDSU accumulated a 13 kill in the set loss. In a winner-take-all fifth set, the Bison recieved the short end of the stick again. The Herd was narrowly defeated, 13-15, to be eliminated from the NIVC tournament.
NDSU, who finished at 21-12 overall and 13-5 in the Summit League, had its best season since 2011 where the team was 26-9. The team also improved significantly from last season’s 12-18.
Coming off an electric 2022 season, the Bison are on the upswing but will lose some key players. Seniors Syra Tanchin and Michelle Artis will become the newest members of the NDSU Volleyball alumnae network.
The outside hitter, Tanchin, has played a key role throughout the season for the Herd. Tanchin combined for 447 kills, 300 digs, 48 blocks and 31 service aces. Artis, a middle hitter, had 333 kills, 119 blocks and 40 digs.
Kelley Johnson and Ava Schmoll also finished their senior seasons but elected to return for another. The NCAA awarded all student-athletes another year of eligibility after the pandemic. Returning players for the Bison include the dynamic Ali Hinze, Alexis Boling, Taylor Quan and Logan O’Brien.
NDSU recruited three new players to join the team ahead of the 2023 season. Ari Blohm, Emma Tallman and Lauren Jansen will all don the Green and Gold next fall. Head coach Jennifer Lopez said she sees the incredible potential that these youngsters offer.
“We have three really good kids,” Lopez said during the Signing Day press conference. “Kids, athletes and their families that we are excited to welcome to our family.”
Blohm, from Stewartville High School in Minnesota, has a good genetic makeup. She stands at 6-foot-1 and received HVL All-Conference team.
“Extremely dynamic and athletic,” Lopez said on Blohm. “I think she’s going to come in and so some good things at a really high level. She’s going to be really fun when we get her in the gym and work with her a little bit.”
The Illinois native, Jansen, comes into the program from a long way away, Lopez admitted. But her versatility is one of the driving factors for recruiting her.
“She reads a game really well,” Lopez said on Jansen. “She has a super high volleyball IQ, which is going to allow her to compete and catch up with the speed of the game and just overall physicality.”
Tallman, from Dowling Catholic in Iowa, is a playmaker that will be a key contributor for the team in the future.
“She is really long and athletic and has really grown into herself” Lopez said about Tallman. “Another middle for us but is going to add a lot of depth and versatility to our offense, to our block, and bringing a lot more size to what it is that we need to do in those areas.”
Lopez added that with players like Tanchin and Artis graduating, recruiting is often about finding balance and finding players that can step up into those roles.
The Bison will get some well-needed rest ahead of the holidays and will return to the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse next fall.