Volleyball seeks for better consistency

The Minnesota State University volleyball team will be hosting two teams over the weekend. On Friday evening, the Mavericks will square off against St. Cloud State University. The next opponent, No. 2 ranked Minnesota Duluth, will be facing MSU on Saturday at 4 p.m.

So far this season, the Mavericks hold an 8-5 record. The Northern Sun Collegiate Conference (NSIC) is proving once again to be the toughest conference in Division-II as MSU has a 2-3 conference record. Their most recent match, the Mavericks lost a close one to Minnesota Crookston, 3-2, in Crookston, Minn.

As a team, Minnesota State hovers right around the middle of the conference in almost every statistical category. They are averaging 12.7 kills per set which puts them at 8th in the conference. The Mavericks distribute the ball fairly well as they average 11.8 assists per set, putting them again at 8th out of sixteen teams in the conference. MSU averages 16.1 digs per set so far this season, and they also add 54 aces and 83.5 blocks.

The Maverick impact players consists of senior Krista Hassing, who is currently 6th in the conference in kills per set with 3.7. Defensive Specialist Haley Fogarty leads the Mavs in digs per set with 5.4. That puts her at 3rd in the conference. Sophomore Autumn Risch is distributing the ball wonderfully for the Mavs as she averages 10.1 assists per set, placing her at 7th in the conference. Another under the radar Maverick impact player is senior Rissi McNallan, who is leading the team in aces with 13, and is coming off an 18 kill performance at Minnesota Crookston.

Looking at MSU’s next opponent in the St. Cloud State Huskies, they are currently 5-8 with a 1-4 conference record. St. Cloud is coming to Mankato with a three-game losing streak with the most recent loss coming from Upper Iowa where they were swept 3-0.

These two schools last met in 2015 where the Mavericks swept the Huskies 3-0 in Mankato. The Huskies have not beaten the Mavs since 2013, however, they do hold the edge in the all-time series, 49-46-1.

As a team, the Huskies are currently 12th in the conference in kills per set with 11.8. They are also towards the bottom of the conference in assists and digs per set with 11.02 and 13.1. St. Cloud is one of the better serving teams in the conference, however, as they currently have 76 aces putting them 5th in the conference.

Some impact players for the Huskies are senior Macy Weller who leads the team in kills per set with 2.7. Their Defensive Specialist is freshman Clara Krenz who holds a team-high 3.6 digs per set. Senior Marissa Kline is averaging 9.4 assists per set as well.

The Mavericks face Minnesota Duluth on Saturday evening at 4 p.m. Duluth is currently ranked 2nd in the nation and boasts a 13-0 overall and 5-0 conference record. Their most recent victory was against 9th ranked Winona, 3-1, in Duluth.

The last time these two schools met, Minnesota State upset the then-8th ranked Bulldogs, 3-1, in Mankato in 2015. Duluth is 6-2 against the Mavericks since 2010, and they hold a 43-19-3 edge in the all-time series against Mankato.

As a team, the Bulldogs are 5th in the conference in both assists and kills per set with 13.3 and 14.3. They are averaging 14.6 digs per set so far this season. They’ve added 64 aces, and are 2nd in the conference in blocks per set with 2.3.

The Bulldogs are led by freshman Emily Torve. Trove was recently one of the NSIC’s players of the week, and she ranks 4th in the conference in assists per set with 11.9. Sophomore Makenzie Morgen leads the team in kills per set with 3.1. Sophomore Erin Schindler adds a team-best 4.7 digs per set and she was just recently named NSIC Defensive Player of the week.

First serve on Friday against St. Cloud State will be at 7 p.m., and first serve is set for 4 p.m. Saturday against Duluth.

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