USF Dominates Net in Sweep of U-Mary
A 432-mile jaunt, south down I-29 S did the trick in the form of the University of Sioux Falls front row, enabled the Marauders an opportunity to see a wall just as imposing -- at least on a volleyball court.
USF’s quartet of Samantha Lovell, Michelle Ritland, Jordan Calef and Alexa Reed put up a force field at the net that was close to impenetrable and the Cougars spent most of the night getting their hands or fingertips on all kinds of balls at the net, in a convincing 25-20, 25-20, 25-17 win over the Marauders in front of a robust crowd tonight at the Stewart Center.
From the opening serve, the Cougars’ focus was completely on what they had to do to win and keep their season-long goal of qualifying for the NSIC postseason well within reach.
Specifically, that focus was blocking and digging to the best of their ability.
USF (17-10, 8-9 NSIC) out-blocked the Marauders 12.0-2.0, with Lovell leading the way with five rejections. Calef had four stuffs, two solo, Ritland made four block assists and Reed added three.
The Cougars built a comfortable 18-13 lead in the opening frame before closing it out on a Johnson spike and followed that pattern again in game 2 when a Reed-Calef combo block put them up 20-15 and U-Mary would get no closer than three points.
Game 3 was a virtual replay of the first two, as U-Mary could never break through the Cougars' block and find a rhythm with its hitting attack. Three set points—one for each set— was all the Cougars would need and they clinched the match fittingly with Emily Johnson’s solo block.
Johnson led the Cougars with 10 terminations while Kate Hart finished with eight kills.
Calef floored seven kills and posted another great hitting percentage, committing only two errors in 15 attempts, to earn match-high honors with a .333 attack clip.
Ritland also chipped in seven kills and contributed several key points throughout the match.
Alexis Jacobs paced U-Mary (4-20, 1-6 NSIC) with nine kills while Janell Finkbeiner tallied 10 digs on the evening.
USF out-hit the Marauders, .234-.030.
The Cougars remain in eighth place in the league standings and hold the final NSIC postseason tournament spot heading into the final three matches of the regular season. USF hosts Minot State (12-15, 7-10) for Senior Day tomorrow with first serve slated for 4 p.m. The match will be the home finale for senior setter Alexa Reed and senior libero Andrea Odbert.