SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- With major NCAA and NSIC tournament implications at stake, Holly Hafemeyer once again led Augustana to a sweep (25-22, 25-18, 25-18) of No. 20 Northern State on Saturday evening. The Vikings pull within one game of the Wolves with a 20-6 overall record, 12-6 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. NSU remains in fourth place in the NSIC standings at 20-5, 13-5 in NSIC competition.
For the second consecutive match, Hafemeyer turned in a career-best 24 kills while hitting at a .524 (24-2-42) clip against the Wolves. As a team, the Vikings hit .405 aided by a season-low five errors. The Viking defense stood tall once again, blocking eight Northern State attacks and picking up 59 digs led by Kayla Wallerich's match-high 15.
The Vikings debuted at No. 8 in the first set of Central Region rankings and NSU was one spot behind them as both teams make their playoff push. The Vikings also gained one game on the Wolves in the NSIC standings and hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Wolves after completing the season sweep of the Wolves from Aberdeen, S.D.
With Saturday's sweep, Augustana eclipses the 20-win mark for the first time since head coach Ashley Buckley's inaugural season with the Vikings in 2008.
Hafemeyer started on a tear, leading the Vikings with eight error-free kills to a 25-22 win in the opening set. Down 11-10, Augustana reeled off six of the next seven points to build a four-point cushion, but the Wolves wouldn't go away quietly. NSU took the lead back at 22-21, but Brittany Cech served the Vikings to four straight points capped off by two Hafemeyer terminations.
In the second set, Augustana steadily built a seven-point advantage and kept their lead for a 25-18 second-set win. Courtney Ysker, who finished with her sixth straight double-double of 15 kills and 12 digs, took over with eight mistake-free kills of her own and helped the Vikings to a .533 (17-1-30) attack percentage in the second stanza.
Sensing the opportunity to put the Wolves away for good, Hafemeyer drilled 11 of Augustana's 18 third-set kills and gave the Vikings the match with a 25-18 win in the final set. The senior middle blocker showed the Senior Night crowd why she will go down as one of the Augustana greats with three kills to open the set and the final kill of the match. The Vikings then broke a 10-10 tie with seven straight points which featured five kills and two blocks to put Vikings out of reach.
Augustana closes out the regular season with a non-conference trip to No. 8 Southwest Minnesota State on Tuesday, Nov. 12 before hitting the road to face Minot State and U-Mary on Nov. 15 and 16, respectively.