UMC Volleyball Keeps Improving Despite 0-3 Loss

Natalie Dillon
Crookston Times

The University of Minnesota Crookston Volleyball team fell 0-3 to Minnesota Duluth on Tuesday, November 2 but sees the match as an improvement and step in the right direction moving forward. 

Earlier in the season the Golden Eagles faced off against Bulldogs, losing 16-25, 9-25, and 18-25. Last night, however, UMC improved immensely, head coach Sarah Morgan said.   

“Compare this match to the first time we played Duluth, night and day difference,” Morgan said. “While you don’t always see those results on paper, we’re seeing that day after day in our gym. It’s good to see that coming out on the floor and hopefully it takes over and we get that win soon.” 

The Golden Eagles fell 1-7 early, but came out of a timeout looking strong. They were able to close the gap to 8-12 with kills from Lauren Wallace, Mara Weisensel, Bailey Schaefer, and Maria Bustos Garcia. 

Wallace kept her foot on the gas, as she added four more kills and an ace on the way to a 17-17 tie.  

After losing the next three points, UMC called a timeout to gather themselves. The tactic worked, as Schaefer put up two kills and Wallace one to force the Bulldogs into a timeout. 

The two teams battled back and forth, tying the set three times in the last nine points, before Duluth got the gained the upper hand, winning 28-26. 

The second set proved to be just as competitive, as the two teams were tied eleven times and had six lead changes.  

The Golden Eagles had their first lead at 4-3 with an ace from Bustos Garcia. They regained the lead at 7-6 when the Bulldogs celebrated a point too early, allowing Natalie Koke to come away with the unexpected kill.  

A kill from Weisensel, double block and ace from Bojana Stekovic increased the Golden Eagles’ lead until Duluth rallied back to tie the game at 10.  

The Bulldogs took the lead for good at 15-14 with a Golden Eagle hitting error. UMC scored only four more points all set, as the Bulldogs took set two 25-18. 

In set three, Wallace knotted the game at two with a kill, but Duluth rallied with two, 4-point runs for a 10-4 lead.  

Koke’s back-to-back kill and ace brought the Golden Eagles back within four, but they weren’t able to sustain a long enough rally to get the lead and win.  

The Bulldogs went on another 4-point run before taking the third set 25-16. 

Wallace led the team with 9 kills, while Schaefer added 8 more. At setter, Koke had 23 assists and 8 digs. Schaefer had two more digs than Koke for a total of 10. Koke, Bustos Garcia, Wallace and Stekovic all had one ace apiece. 

The Golden Eagles look to keep making steps in the right direction and eventually get another win on the season as they host Augustana University on Friday.  

“It’s really a process for us to get that win,” Wallace said. “Slowly but surely, we’re figuring out, yes, we can win a set, and we can win two sets, and we can win the whole game. It’s a pretty young team and I’m excited for them to be experiencing this because I know that next season, even in the next games, we can realize we have everything we need to get a win.” 

Lauren Wallace tips the ball over blockers
Mara Weisensel gets the kill
Layne Whaley receives the serve
Natalie Koke sets up her hitter
Bojana Stekovic serves the ball