Senior outside hitter and Hibbing, Minn., native Kate Lange became the all-time career kills leader for the UMD volleyball team Friday night against No. 17 Wayne State. Lange smashed 29 kills to help put away the Wildcats in five sets, and in doing so, passed Vicky Braegelmann, who had held the record with 1,843 kills. Lange, who has 1,864 kills, is on pace to finish the regular season with 1,985 and hit the 2,000 mark in the first round of the NSIC Tournament.
“It shows how talented of a player she is,” said head coach Jim Boos. “We didn’t know where to place her four years ago when she came to the program. Ultimately, we placed her outside as an attacker, and she has become the focal point and has put the team on her shoulders. As a six-rotation player, she’s going to finish as one of the best players in the program. It’s been such a pleasure to have her here.”
Lange is the only player in Bulldog history to amass at least 1,500 kills, 1,000 digs, 100 solo blocks and 100 service aces.
“Kate has been so deserving of it,” said junior libero Julie Rainey, who came in with Lange in 2010 as a redshirt freshman. “She works hard every day and is here every summer trying to be better. As a teammate of hers, it’s neat to be a part of it, and it comes as no surprise because of how successful we have been as a team.”
After the victory and record-breaker Friday, the Bulldogs beat Augustana in straight sets Saturday, avenging a five-set loss to the Vikings last year.
“I’m really happy the way we performed and bounced back on such a long trip,” Boos said. “Along with the huge accomplishment versus Wayne, we showed some resilience and fire in the fourth and fifth sets to pull it out, and then responded 20 hours later against a quality opponent that beat us last year.”
The No. 3 Bulldogs (22-2, 12-2 NSIC) are home against Sioux Falls Friday and eighth-ranked Southwest Minnesota State Saturday.
BY EVAN SMEGAL firstname.lastname@example.org