BY SAM GAZZOLA Statesman Correspondent
The UMD women’s volleyball team extended their winning streak to seven matches and retained their status as the No. 1 team in the nation after a road trip to Bemidji. The Bulldogs will look to continue their impressive streak as they advance into the thick of Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play.
Not much could go wrong for the Bulldogs Saturday on the road as they breezed past Bemidji State University in straight sets. In their most dominating performance of the season, UMD did not give up more than 13 points in any set.
It was a great bounce back game after Thursday’s contest against Crookston. The Bulldogs won that match, but it wasn’t pretty.
The weekend proved to be much sweeter for the No. 1 ranked team in the nation. UMD opened the match with a 25-13 win in the first set and took the following two both by a score of 25-11.
“We’re confident in knowing that we are getting better each and every day,” Head Coach Jim Boos said.
The Bulldogs had a hitting percentage of .364 compared to the Beavers’ .000. Junior Sydnie Mauch led the offense 12 kills.
“Our middle and right side attack were very effective,” Boos said. The team’s defense stood out as well. Seniors Monica Turner and Mariah Scharf, as well as junior Sydnie Mauch, all had 2 blocks. UMD gained more than twice as many points as BSU, outscoring them 75-35 over the three sets.
Senior Ashley Hinsch distributed the ball well, adding 32 assists which brings her season total to 454. Despite these numbers, Boos feels that her game has been inconsistent.
However, through Sept. 13, Hinsch was ranked fifth in the nation in assists per set with 12.06
As a team this year, the Bulldogs are averaging 14.3 kills per game and have 120 more kills than their opponents collectively against them. The Bulldogs hope these trends will continue this year as their season rolls on.
The Bulldogs are back home this week to face the St. Cloud State Huskies (1-1 NSIC, 5-5 overall). SCSU has only played one ranked opponent this season and lost that match in straight sets. “I’d like to see us play a little bit more consistently than we did in our home opener,” Boos said.
The coach has been scouting his team’s opponent but knows that understanding their strategy is not sufficient. “Every volleyball coach in the country will tell you, the main focus is what’s going on on our side of the net,” Boos said.
SCSU will be looking for a bounce back game of their own after losing to Crookston in straight sets on Saturday.
UMD will have the rest of the week off until they travel on what will be a challenging road trip to play Northern State University (2-0 NSIC, 10-0 overall) and Minnesota-State Moorhead (2-0 NSIC, 9-1 overall).
Each of the three players awarded with NSIC player of the week honors this week play for either NSU or MSUM.