This was not the way the Bulldogs wanted to close out the home portion of the 2010 schedule. Minnesota State University put a damper on senior day, upsetting the University of Minnesota Duluth 3-2 (25-20, 17-25, 13-25, 26-24, 15-13) before a crowd of 381 Saturday afternoon at Romano Gymnasium.
UMD struggled early on in the first set offensively, as nine Bulldog errors helped MSU-Moorhead snag the opening frame. Things then swung completely the other way in the ensuing two sets. UMD vastly outhit the Dragons and recorded five blocks to MSU-Moorheads zero in setting the Bulldogs up with a 2-1 lead.
The two teams traded punches in the fourth, but MSU-Moorhead managed to fight off a UMD match point (with the score at 24-23) and force a decisive fifth set. The Dragons hit .467 with four blocks in the fifth set en route to their first victory at Romano Gymnasium since Oct. 2, 2001. MSU-Moorhead also snapped a five-match losing streak to UMD with the win.
Senior outside hitter Katie Kuffel made the most of her last home appearance with a 22-kill effort, establishing a new career-high. Kuffel, who led the Bulldogs with a .487 hitting percentage, dug five balls and assisted on five blocks as well. Freshman Kate Lange narrowly missed a double-double, turning in 18 kills and nine digs. Junior middle blocker April Hansen collected 13 kills --and added three total blocks -- to round out the UMD attackers in double figures.
Junior setter Eleena Iisakka racked up a season-high 63 set assists in the losing effort. Iisakka also added six digs and three block assists to her credit. Junior libero Allison Fanta dug 23 balls, matching her career-high set earlier this season. Senior middle blocker Alyssa Nelson got in on 10 total blocks, topping her previous career-high of nine.
The Bulldogs (22-4 overall, 15-3 Northern Sun) hit .274 for the match with 13 blocks. MSU-Moorhead (14-12, 10-8) hit .240 on the afternoon with 11 blocks.
UMD closes out the regular season with back-to-back tough contests on the road next weekend. The Bulldogs travel to Southwest Minnesota State University next Friday evening, and will head to Minnesota State University-Moorhead on Saturday.
Courtesy: UMD Athletics