The Golden Eagles snapped an eight game losing streak with a win on Friday.
The University of Minnesota Crookston volleyball team looked to double-doubles from Kaycie Hagen (Sr., S, Savage, Minn.) and Kassi Green (R-Sr., OH, Anoka, Minn.) to ignite a 3-1 (27-25, 16-25, 25-16, 25-21) win over Minnesota State University Moorhead. The Golden Eagles got great effort from the whole team as different players stepped up in key spots to put an eight-match losing skid to a screeching halt.
Minnesota Crookston improved to 5-15 (2-10 NSIC) as they picked up their first victory since a Sept. 19 win over Bemidji State University.
The Golden Eagles looked to season highs from Kassi Green, who notched 25 kills and 20 digs to complete her third double-double of her senior season. Kassi Green tallied 6.3 kills and 5.0 digs per set. Hagen also played perhaps her best match of the season with a double-double of 52 assists and 24 digs. Her 24 digs were a season-high for her senior season. Hagen notched 13.0 assists and 6.0 digs per set.
In addition, UMC was aided by the play on the right side from Kaitlin Sikkink (R-So., RS, St. Charles, Minn.). Sikkink notched 12 kills with a .310 hitting percentage. Callie Schapekahm (Jr., MH, Eagan, Minn.) had eight kills and Kelci Green (R-Sr., MH, Anoka, Minn.) added seven.
Maggie Perrel (R-Sr., Lib./OH, New Germany, Minn.) played various roles on the match as she started at libero for the first two sets before moving to outside hitter in the final two frames. Perrel had six kills and 17 digs for the match.
The Golden Eagles played outstanding defense with 102 digs on the match for an average of 25.5 digs per set. Hagen, Green and Perrel led the way for the back-row, while Becca Vandenheuval (Sr., Lib., Cannon Falls, Minn.) chipped in 15 digs and Ali Schueler (R-So., DS, Howards Grove, Wis.) notched 14 digs.
UMC had six blocks on the match paced by four block assists and one solo block from Kelci Green.
The Golden Eagles hit .205 for the match with 65 kills and 26 errors.
Minnesota Crookston raced out to a 7-3 lead in the first set paced by two kills apiece from Kassi Green and Sikkink. The Dragons responded to cut the advantage to 7-6 with a Lauren Kiewiet kill. The Golden Eagles would move their lead back out to a 14-10 lead with a Deaira Gresham (Fr., OH, Maplewood, Minn.) kill. MSU Moorhead cut the lead back down to 15-14 with a Courtney Selbitschka kill. Minnesota Crookston responded by moving their lead back to four at 19-15 with a Hagen kill. The Dragons knotted up the match at 22-22 as they did not go away. MSU Moorhead would take their first lead in the match 23-22 with a Tyann Caspers kill. Minnesota Crookston came out of an opportune timeout by Head Coach Sarah Rauen as they took five of the final seven points to win 27-25 on a bad set from Caspers.
“I reminded them to remember back to when we were playing Minot earlier this year,” Rauen said. “We were down a couple game points and they decided that we were not going to lose. I told them to remember that mindset and I think they did that.”
UMC came out strong early in the second frame as they led 8-6 after an Ellie Hoyt service error. MSU Moorhead used an 8-1 run to take the lead 14-9 on a Kelci Green attack error. The Dragons would be able to use their momentum with the 12-2 run to win 25-16.
The Golden Eagles took a 7-4 lead in the third set following a Sarah Hagler attack error. The Dragons knotted up the set 9-9 and took the 10-9 advantage with a Thorson service ace. Minnesota Crookston used a 6-3 run to go ahead 15-12 with a Schapekahm kill. The Golden Eagles closed the third set on a 10-4 run as Sikkink put a stamp on the 25-16 win with a shot off a Vandenheuvel assist.
Minnesota Crookston went up 4-2 early on in the fourth set after a Kaylyn Jenkins attack error. The match would be knotted at 9-9 after a Perrel kill. The Dragons countered with a 3-0 run to go up 12-9 led by a pair of kills from Caspers.
Minnesota Crookston countered with a 6-2 run as they went up 15-14 following a bad set from Selbitschka. The two teams would go toe-to-toe for the next 11 points as the match would be tied up 20-20. The Golden Eagles took the momentum at the close of the match as they took 5-of-6 points to win 25-21 following a three-consecutive kills from Kassi Green.
“We needed this so bad,” Sikkink said. “In order for us to progress through the season, I think this was crucial. This was a crucial turning point to show all of our hard work finally put into a product that we can be proud of.”
UMC had strong moments but could not sustain momentum in a 3-0 (25-13, 25-23, 25-15) loss to No. 11 Northern State University the following day. The Golden Eagles drop to 5-16 (2-11 NSIC).
Minnesota Crookston hits the road next weekend as they face Minot State University Oct. 27 at Minot, N.D.