UMC falls to 3-6 on the season after dropping their first conference game.

DULUTH, Minn. – The University of Minnesota Crookston volleyball team fell 3-0 (25-17, 25-15, 25-20) to No. 7 University of Minnesota Duluth in their NSIC opener Thurs., Sept. 14.  The Golden Eagles battled in all three sets but fell short against the Bulldogs, a perennial power in the nation’s best NCAA Division II conference.   

    Minnesota Crookston falls to 3-6 (0-1 NSIC). Minnesota Duluth improved to 8-1 (1-0 NSIC) with Thursday’s victory.   

    The Golden Eagles were led by 10 kills from Kassi Green (R-Sr., OH, Anoka, Minn.). Green was limited to a .051 hitting percentage on the match with eight errors. Rachel Freund (R-Jr., OH, Jordan, Minn.) was strong off the bench for Minnesota Crookston. Freund hit .417 with seven kills on the night. Kelci Green (R-Sr., MH, Anoka, Minn.) and Kaitlin Sikkink (R-So., MH, St. Charles, Minn.) each chipped in six kills.   

    Minnesota Crookston hit .172 for the match with 33 kills and 17 errors. Kaycie Hagen (Sr., S, Savage, Minn.) led the way with 33 assists on the night.   

    Defensively, the U of M Crookston looked to 11 digs from Maggie Perrel (R-Sr., DS/OH, New Germany, Minn.). Becca Vandenheuvel (Sr., DS, Cannon Falls, Minn.) added seven digs. The Golden Eagles struggled on the block as they were unable to tally a block on the night against a potent Minnesota Duluth offense.   

    The Bulldogs looked to 15 kills from Sarah Kelly and 14 from Makenzie Morgen. Kelly hit .545 on the night, while Morgen hit .520. UMD hit .378 for the match with 48 kills and just 11 errors. The offense was guided by the play of setter Emily Torve, who finished with 35 assists.   

    Defensively, the Bulldogs looked to 13 digs from Keena Seiffert, while Morgen added 10 digs. On the block, Allison Olley and Kelly each had three block assists.   

    Minnesota Duluth raced out to a 5-0 lead led by two kills from Kate Berg. The Golden Eagles cut the advantage to 6-4 on an Abby Thor attack error. UMD would be able to keep enough of an advantage to hold on for the 25-17 set victory.   

    UMD got out to another quick start in the second set as they went up 6-1 on a Morgen service ace. The Golden Eagles got within 8-6 on a Thor attack error. However, the Bulldogs moved their lead to 17-11 and would hold on for the 25-15 win as they took 17 of the final 26 points in the second set.   

    The Bulldogs got out to an early 5-2 lead in the third set after a Kelci Green attack error. Minnesota Crookston responded with a five-point rally to go up 7-5 on a Thor attack error. Minnesota Duluth took the lead back 10-9 after a Freund attack error. The Golden Eagles knotted the set back up at 10-10 after a Freund kill. The two teams would go toe-to-toe until UMD would put together a string of three-straight points to go up 22-17 on a Torve service ace. Minnesota Duluth took a 25-20 win on a Kelly kill.   

    The Golden Eagles will open up their home slate Sat., Sept. 16 as they take on St. Cloud State at 4 p.m. at Lysaker Gymnasium.