Bruins avenge loss to Dakota State to reach semis

Marylyn Mozena had 11 kills on .476 hitting to lead BU to a NSAA Tournament win
Marylyn Mozena had 11 kills on .476 hitting to lead BU to a NSAA Tournament win

MADISON, S.D. -- The Bellevue University volleyball team avenged an earlier loss with a 3-0 victory over Dakota State University on Saturday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the North Star Athletic Association Volleyball Tournament. Bellevue won by scores of 27-25, 25-19, 25-17.

Senior Beth Walker finished just a kill short of her third triple-double and a very balanced attack in which five players recorded at least eight kills let Bellevue to victory.

Dakota State previously beat Bellevue in a five-set thriller (25-23, 26-24, 10-25, 13-25, 15-13) on Oct. 10 in Madison, S.D.

Head coach Trish Siedlike spoke of the Bruins's slower start, saying, "Today we came out not as fired up as I hoped, but it was expected with a team that beat us."

Bellevue gutted out a 27-25 win in the first set before jumping on Dakota State in the second en route to a 25-19 win and a commanding two sets to none lead. Both teams attacked decent, but not exceptional rates in the opening set (Bellevue .154, Dakota State .175). The Trojans showed marginal improvement in the second set by hitting .189, but Bellevue was on fire offensively, hitting .317 with just four attack errors.

Bellevue fell behind early in the third set, trailing by as many as three on multiple occasions but used an 8-3 spurt to grab a 10-8 lead on their way to a comeback. The Bruins out-hit Dakota State .250-.158 in the third set to claim the 25-17 victory.

The win by Bellevue marks the 12th-straight season in which BU has reached the semifinals of their conference tournament. The last time the Bruins failed to reach the semifinals in a conference tournament was 2003 when they failed to qualify for the now-defunct MCAC Tournament.

Coach Siedlik also said, "What we were most proud of was the balanced attack of our hitters. Beth distributed and had faith in all of them. We can celebrate for a couple days and then get back to work."

Freshman Marylyn Mozena led the Bruins with 11 kills while classmate Shayla Scanlan joined her in double figures with 10. Walker did record her 27th double-double, finishing with 33 assists, 11 digs, and nine kills. Junior Rachel Barr and sophomore Rachel Wald each chipped in with eight kills while sophomore Mikaylah Gillespie contributed five.

Barr hit a team-best .500 on the night while Mozena and Walker were both over .250, hitting .476 and .273, respectively.

Defensively, the Bruins had six players record at least six digs, led by Wald and sophomore Taylor Holz who each recorded 13 digs. Freshman Lauren Colpitts added 12, Walker had 11, freshman Erin Warren added seven, and Mozena contributed six.

Alicia Karst hit .588 with 10 kills and no attack errors for Dakota State while Tessa Weeldreyer and Carly Rozell added seven and six kills, respectively. Chelsey Davis (18), Rozell (11), and Allison Thielsen (11) each had double-digit dig nights.

Bellevue out-hit Dakota State .222-.174 on the evening, out-blocked the Trojans 9.5-6 and claimed a 65-57 advantage in digs on their way to victory.

The Bruins (22-16) advance to next weekend's semifinals where they will meet an opponent to be determined on Friday, Nov. 13. Game time will be announced at a later date. The winner of Friday's semifinals will meet at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14 for the conference championship and the right to earn an automatic bid to the NAIA Volleyball National Tournament.