The Mavericks look to get back on track a home game in Taylor Center on Friday
Mavericks volleyball dropped two in-state matches this past weekend against the University of Minnesota – Duluth and St. Cloud State. Friday’s match at the No. 6 UMD Bulldogs ended with the Mavs getting swept in three sets (13-25, 18-25 and 26-28). Saturday’s match went a little more in the Mavericks’ favor, but defeat was still the outcome against SCSU (26-24, 25-22, 23-25, 15-25 and 11-15).
Riding high after last week’s victory over MSU – Moorhead, the Mavs moved north to face a formidable opponent in UMD. The Bulldogs are ranked sixth with a 14-2 overall record with an NSIC record of 7-1, the only conference loss being to Southwest Minnesota State in Marshall. The Bulldogs’ other loss was early in the season in their final game of the 2017 Shark Invitational, held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
MNSU went ahead 3-0 to start the first set in Duluth, scoring off of two attack errors by the Bulldogs along with a kill from senior Jackie Jones. UMD matched the Mavericks’ opening three points with three of their own, followed by six more points only interrupted by a service error. The Bulldogs didn’t release any pressure as they continued to score; attack errors becoming the Mavericks’ worst enemy at this point. MNSU gave up nine points in this set due to either attack or service errors with the Bulldogs only giving up four to the Mavs.
Minnesota State held its own early in the second set, holding a lead until UMD tied the score at 10-10. A more efficient offense came out to play than its opening set version. The Mavericks raked in 6 kills of the first ten points they scored; Jones and sophomore Morgan Olson with two each to start things out. The attack error issues returned for MNSU, losing their foothold on the Bulldogs in the second set. The Mavs offense would slightly return throughout the rest of the set and UMD committed a few errors themselves but were still able to prevail. The Mavs lost the second set 18-25.
The third and final set was Minnesota State’s best chance to take down the No. 6 Bulldogs. Both teams had their fair share of kills in the beginning of this set. The first six points scored were all kills; the set was tied at 3-3 before the first non-kill point went for the Mavs. With limited mistakes, the Mavericks held a lead over UMD for most of the entire last set. They couldn’t hold on in the end, as the Bulldogs crept back to force extra play, ultimately defeating MNSU 28-26.
Although a much more contested match, the Mavs had similar results against the St. Cloud State University Huskies on Saturday. This match went into five sets as the Mavericks started hot, winning the first two sets but ran out of gas in the final three to lose their second straight match of the weekend.
The Mavericks did fight back in the first set when the Huskies started with a 9-3 lead. SCSU’s offense showed up in the first set, scoring kill after kill on the Mavericks defense. MNSU became the beneficiary of attack errors against SCSU, unlike their match against the Bulldogs. The team gradually dug into the Huskies’ lead and took a late lead off of three straight St. Cloud State errors. The Mavericks ended up winning the first set 26-24 on a SCSU attack error.
Despite efforts by the Huskies to overtake the Mavericks in the second set, MNSU stayed strong and closed it out 25-22, without letting SCSU lead at any point in the set. St. Cloud kept the Mavericks on their toes at the end but increased their late one-point deficit, allowing MNSU to win the second set of the match.
The Mavericks’ second set win would be their last for the match. They would have a similar story to St. Cloud’s in the third set, losing 23-25 after being down by six to start the set. The fourth set was the least productive for the Mavs in this match, unable to spark much offense they lost to the Huskies 25-15. The match would officially be a loss for MNSU after the fifth set, as the Huskies held a consistent two-point lead over the Mavs in the last set to go on and win 15-11.
A bright spot in the schedule arrives on Friday Oct. 13. The University of Minnesota – Crookston comes to the Taylor Center to take on MNSU who now have a 2-1 home record with a 9-8 record overall. The Mavericks swept the Eagles convincingly in their last meeting (16-25, 8-25 and 12-25) in Aberdeen, S.D. This will be the first conference match between the two teams. The Eagles are 1-7 in the NSIC while the Mavs sit at 3-6 in conference play.