Bruins win NSAA debut in sweep at Clarke Tournament

BU won their first-ever NSAA match against VCSU and downed Clarke to extend their win streak to four
BU won their first-ever NSAA match against VCSU and downed Clarke to extend their win streak to four

DUBUQUE, Iowa -- The Bellevue University volleyball team won a pair of matches at the Clarke University Tournament to extend their winning streak to four matches. Bellevue swept Valley City State University by scores of 25-7, 25-21, and 25-16 in the opener before rallying past Clarke 3-1 by scores of 23-25, 25-20, 25-22, and 25-23 in the nightcap.

Match 1: Bellevue 3, Valley City State 0 (25-7, 25-21, 25-16)

In their first-ever North Star Athletic Association match Bellevue trounced Valley City in straight sets, getting strong contributions across the board. Sophomore Rachel Wald led the offensive attack with 14 kills and a .480 hitting percentage.

Bellevue started strong with a .333 hitting percentage in taking the first set in a 25-7 victory while holding VCSU to -.138 hitting average. BU cooled off in the second set, hitting just .116 which allowed the Vikings to stay close in a 25-21 Bruin win. Bellevue used a strong third set, offensively, to fully do away with Valley City, hitting a blistering .500 on 26 attempts and making just one error in a 25-16 victory to seal the match.

The Bruins got six kill efforts from senior Beth Walker, sophomore Mikaylah Gillespie, and freshman Lauren Colpitts. Walker directed the offense with 28 assists and supported that with a strong defensive effort, recording eight digs.

Sophomore Taylor Holz led the Bruins defensively with 13 digs while freshman Erin Warren added nine, senior Victoria Bowens finished with seven, and Wald added six.

As a team Bellevue out-hit Valley City .281-.087 and held a sizable 56-45 advantage in digs.

Match 2: Bellevue 3, Clarke 1 (23-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-23)

Bellevue used a solid two-way game to rally past Clarke, 3-1 after dropping the first set. Bellevue attacked at a .162 clip while holding Clarke to an .081 effort and nabbing a 72-69 edge in digs.

The Bruins played a solid opening set but Clarke made just three attack errors on their way to hitting .237 in a 25-23 win. Bellevue evened things up with a second set win, 25-20, riding their defense which helped force Clarke into a -.156 attack effort.

In a crucial third set, the Bruins played their best set of the match, hitting .242 while holding Clarke to an .091 output to take a 2-1 lead. BU closed the match with a tight fourth set in which they out-hit Clarke by a narrow .132-.118 margin for a 25-23 win to extend their winning streak. Beth Walker ended the match with a kill, crushed down the line to put the exclamation mark on a great night for the Bruins.

Freshman Shayla Scanlan led the Bruins balanced offensive output, finishing with 12 digs and a .259 hitting percentage. Mikaylah Gillespie joined her in double figures with 10 kills, Rachel Wald added nine while Walker and freshman Marylyn Mozena added eight apiece.

Walker notched her team-best 15th double-double of the year, finishing with 38 assists and 17 digs. Taylor Holz led the Bruins defensively with 21 digs while Erin Warren chipped in with 10 and Victoria Bowens added nine.

Head Coach Trish Siedlik:

"Today was a good day for us. We were strong on our finish and improved when we were down in points. We are not a team that can coast. Our lull moments have hurt us in the past and that is where we need to raise our energy level. Overall, I'm very pleased with seeing how well things have transferred over from practice."

The Bruins (14-9) continue play at the Clarke Tournament tomorrow with a pair of matches at noon and 2 p.m. against Ashford and Mount Mercy, respectively.