Above: Mariah Scharf goes for a kill in UMD's five set win over Northern State. Brad Eischens/Statesman BY SAM GAZZOLA | The Statesman
In arguably the most exciting match in Duluth this season, the Bulldog volleyball team defeated No. 3 Northern State University in five sets.
The teams traded points all night in a seesaw battle. The Wolves won the opening set, but needed extra points to do so, beating UMD 26-24. The Bulldogs bounced back though and won the next set 25-22. UMD played off their momentum and beat the Wolves 25-15. After dropping the fourth set, the Bulldogs sealed the victory with a 15-8 win in the final game.
With this win, UMD moved to 22-7 overall and 15-5 in the NSIC. This match was also the first win for the Bulldogs against a top-ten team since their pre-season tournament in Tampa two months ago. It was the team’s sixth win in a row, but it still wasn’t enough to secure home-court advantage in the playoffs, as they will face Wayne State in Nebraska next week in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference postseason tournament.
71- UMD earned 71 kills as a team—their second-most this year. The top three kill earners were senior Mariah Scharf (30), Junior Sydnie Mauch (13) and Junior Taylor Wissbroecker (11).
61- Senior setter Ashley Hinsch tied her season best in assists with 61. Last night Hinsch fell just shy of this number as she put up 60 assists in the Bulldogs’ win over Moorhead.
30- Senior outside hitter Mariah Scharf also matched one of her season bests with 30 kills. The last time she had that many was, again, in the win over Tampa. Scharf was just three kills shy of tying UMD’s school record for kills set by Kate Lange, the all-time kills leader for the Bulldogs.
In the middle of the fifth set the two teams held a volley that lasted for nearly a minute. At one point, UMD blocked a Northern State kill attempt and the ball rebounded toward the sideline. Two Bulldogs then made diving saves to keep the ball alive and Ashley Hinsch, who had fallen to the court after stretching for the block, was able to send the ball over the net from while still seated on the court. The volley carried on until it ended on a kill by UMD.