Bruins drop heartbreaker to Trojans in NSAA semis

Bruins drop heartbreaker to Trojans in NSAA semis

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MADISON, S.D. -- The third-seeded Bellevue University volleyball team battled back from a 2-0 deficit to force a fifth set before falling to second-seeded Dakota State University, 3-2 (25-20, 25-20, 19-25, 21-25, 15-11) Friday night in the North Star Athletic Association Tournament semifinals at the Watertown Civic Arena. 

With the loss, the Bruins fall to 26-8 on the season. Dakota State improves to 19-11 overall and will await the winner between No. 1 Viterbo and No. 4 Mayville State. The championship match is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday. The winner will receive an automatic berth into the NAIA National Tournament. 

Sierra Athen recorded her team-leading 19th double-double of the season, finishing with 16 kills and 17 digs. Coree Lipovsky recorded 12 kills on .385 hitting while adding four blocks. Nicole Meyer was the third Bruin in double figures, finishing with 10 kills along with four blocks. 

Olivia Galas recorded her 14th double-double of the season, registering with 47 assists and 17 digs, along with four blocks. 

Barbara Briceno and Hannah Jellema both tallied 11 kills to pace the Trojan offense. Briceno added a match-high 30 digs, while Jellema collected a match-high seven blocks. 

The Bruins struggled hitting in opening two sets, hitting just above .000 with 23 hitting errors in the first two games. Bellevue rebounded hitting .281 and .214 in sets three and four. 

With the score tied at 7-7 in the final set, the Trojans used an 8-4 run to close out the match. 

Bellevue will await word of their post-season fate when the qualifiers for the NAIA National Tournament are announced on Monday, Nov. 18.