NO. 7 UMD CLIPS ASHLAND TO COMPLETE PERFECT WEEKEND
Saturday, September 1, 2012
Each of the last five University of Minnesota Duluth volleyball seasons have opened with four matches over a two-day stretch, and the Bulldogs have run the table in all but one of those season-opening tournaments. No. 7 pushed its record to 19-1 on opening weekend since 2008 with a 3-1 (25-27, 25-12, 25-20, 25-15) win over Ashland University, wrapping up play at the Days Inn Bulldog Invitational in Kirksville, Mo., with a perfect 4-0 record.
The Bulldogs had Ashland on the ropes in the opening frame, but the eagles fought off set point and won the set in come-from-behind fashion. UMD played a much sharper game in thes second, bursting out to a 15-5 lead and leaning on Ashland the rest of the way to knot the score at one game a piece.
It took a much more dramatic effort in the third set, but the Bulldogs got it done just the same. Down 17-13, UMD head coach Jim Boos spent a timeout to talk things over with his troops. Whatever buttons were pushed by the 11th year head coach worked wonders, as the Bulldogs forced an 18-18 tie six points later. UMD continued to roll the rest of the way, ending the third set on back-to-back kills by Kate Lange and Monica Turner.
Letting the third set slip away forced the wind out of the Ashland sails, and the Bulldogs jumped all over the dejected Eagles at the start of the fourth game. UMD built a 6-1 lead early and was able to hit cruise control from there on out. Ashland pushed to within striking distance a couple times, but faded as the set grew older, never cutting the gap to less than two poitns.
The Bulldogs (4-0) hit a staggering .359 and put up eight total blocks for the match. No. 7 UMD was led on offense once again by Lange, who posted 22 kills and added 11 digs for her third double-double of the year. Jaclyn Barrette collected 48 helpers and Julie Rainey paced all defenders with 20 digs.
UMD returns home next Tuesday (Sept. 4) for its home opener against Northern Michigan University.
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