Corey's Corner 10/4

Posted 10/04/17 (Wed)

               As the volleyball season gets into midseason form, we had a full on week of volleyball here on BEK. So let’s jump right in with a matchup at the armory between the two best teams in the MonDak Conference: the Mystics of Bismarck State and the Wildcats of NDSCS. And in the first set, both teams really played the part. It was a back and forth first set, with each team finding their groove at different times. The 1st set was tied up 12 different times, but it was BSC who scored the final few points to take the opening stanza. Caitlyn Inman came in as the MonDak player of the week, an she made her bid for a repeat. An outstanding set was capped off by a block by Inman and Kristina Lucier, as the Mystics claimed a hard fought set 25-23.

                Those are the types of sets that can really power a team forward, and that’s exactly what happened. NDSCS fought hard with some outstanding plays by Brook Bauman and company, but a late 10-2 run by BSC gave them a 2-0 lead. Liza Doppler found her groove, and was dominant in the second. The third too, as BSC didn’t look back. Sam Anklam was once again incredible defensively for BSC, and they got a 3-0 win. Victoria Czech and Jasmine Bruer along with Becca Weir were great for NDSCS, but the Mystics got the win to remain atop the MonDak .

                We’ll stick with college volleyball as the Denver Pioneers came to town to take on the NDSU Bison. Denver was the preseason #1 in the Summit League, returning a ton of talent from a great team last year. On the other side, the Bison have a young group that have surprised some people and had a very strong out-of-conference start. And as it would turn out, this one would be defined by the momentum already built up on the season. It would turn out that the 1st set would shape the game, much like in Bismarck. A hard fought 27-26 set was well played by NDSU, powered by Bella Lien and Jessica Jorgensen. Jess was making her home debut after working through an injury, and she would notch the first point of a set more often than not in this one. Despite the Bison’s quality play, and with a big lead, Denver would come back from down 24-20 to win 28-26. With NDSU getting off on the right feet each time, they got it done in a big way in set 2.         

                 The most lopsided set of the day went the Bison’s way as they hit an insane .440 , with Jorgensen and Lien leading the way again. Allie Mauch and Erika Gelzinyte got going too, and it didn’t much matter who was hitting the ball in the 2nd. After the break, Denver was committed to not making it easy for the Bison. This is a really good Pioneers team that knows how to play with their backs against the wall, and they did just that in the now best-of-three. Becca Latham, Teal Schnurr, and Cassie Baird combined to get Denver their comeback bid, but the Bison denied them that opportunity. NDSU held on in this first set out of the break in a way they didn’t in the first overall set, and it was now 2-1 NDSU. Then in the 4th, the Bison picked up right where they had left off. One of the biggest reasons for the team’s success is this freshman class, and they shone in what would be the biggest win of the year. Allie Mauch was great in the late stages, as was Bella Lien. The backbone of this team in Mikaela Purnell and Brianna Rasmusson were great as always. It was a thrilling set, but the Bison won it a 25-23. The atmosphere was electric, and the Bison got homecoming weekend off to a huge start, remaining undefeated in Summit League play.

                Unfortunately for NDSU, they wouldn’t hold that mark for long. The Bison welcomed in Oral Roberts on Sunday, and their world-class Senior Laura Milos. She dominated this game from the word go, and dictated the pace of play throughout the contest. Her team backed her in the 1st,as ORU hit .379 in the opening stanza. NDSU took a page out of the ORU playbook in the second, hitting their own otherworldly .394. Allie Mauch continued her amazing weekend, as she was the most efficient hitter by far. McKenzie Burke got off to a great start as well, along with Erik Gelzinyte. But after the break, it was simply the Milos show. She put ORU on her back, and guided them to wins in Set 3 & 4. She finished with 30 kills on .418, along with six service aces. CeCe Madison and Shelby Cox were good supplemental attacks, but Milos was a true game changer. NDSU would fall for the first time in Summit League action, but are still in a really good position going forward.