The University of Sioux Falls Cougar volleyball team (8-5 Overall, 0-4 NSIC) came off of a tough defeat to the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs on Friday night to entertain the St. Cloud State University Huskies in another key Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference matchup. While the Cougars were still feeling the sting of the loss to the Bulldogs, it was not too apparent as they took to the court on Saturday afternoon.
The Cougars showed no ill effects of the loss to the number 3 team in the country in the first set, as they came out firing and took control of the first set immediately. Using a balanced attack of kills and finesse shots, Sioux Falls battled back from being down 14-10 at one point to winning the set 25-22.
The second set was more of the same for the Cougars, except they came out even hotter than they did in the first. The Huskies looked like they were having some slight mental lapses when it came to trying to read the attack of many of the Cougar players. When it came right down to tactics though, Sioux Falls looked more comfortable than St. Cloud State at trying to play the finesse game. The Huskies tried to make a comeback late in the second, staving off 8 set points, but came up short to the powerful Cougars 25-19.
Through the first two sets, Sioux Falls was in complete control of the match in all categories. USF had 29 kills to 23 for the Huskies and 6 blocks to just 1 for SCSU. It was the difference in errors which proved to be key for this NSIC matchup. The Huskies had committed 15 errors through two sets to just 7 for the Cougars.
The third set got off to a slow start for the Cougars, losing the first three points of the set, but they came roaring back, rattling off several points and running away with the final set 25-16 to with the match 3-0. This was the first NSIC win for the Cougars, who improved their record to 9-5 overall and 1-4 in the NSIC.
After the match, senior middle blocker Sarah Kohler talked about the win. “We just told ourselves that we needed to not let what happened to us last night (against Duluth) happen again.”
Head coach Joel McCartney was pleased with the way that momentum took over throughout the entire match. “We really have been working on how to keep momentum swings going throughout each set and I think that tonight we were able to use that to our advantage. St. Cloud State is a quality team and I think that we can’t overlook any team in this league, ranked or not.”
The Cougars take to the road on September 28 and 29 when they travel to Marshall, MN to take on SMSU and then on to Aberdeen, SD to take on Northern State University. The Cougars return home on October 5th and 6th when they take on Winona State and Upper Iowa University.