Augie volleyball falls in NSIC Tournament quarterfinals

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- The Augustana volleyball team fought hard but ultimately fell to No. 2 seed Minnesota Duluth 3-1 Friday afternoon in the NSIC Tournament Quarterfinals.

In the opening moments of the match, sophomore setter Avery Thorson went over 2,000 career assists. She currently sits with 2,034 assists in her carer.

After a sluggish start for the Vikings trailing 7-2 early on, Augie fought back to cut the lead to 18-15 and used a 5-1 run to make it a one-point score at 21-20 forcing a Bulldogs timeout. Unfortunately, UMD used a 4-0 run out of the timeout to take the first set 25-20.

Augustana used the momentum it built at the end of the first set to jump out to an 8-2 lead forcing a timeout from UMD. The Vikings continued to pour it on taking a 12-4 lead after a huge kill by Maddy Guetter that started a 6-0 run for Augustana resulting in a commanding 17-4 lead. The Bulldogs responded with a 7-1 run of its own to cut the lead to single digits at 18-11, but Augie outscored UMD 7-2 the remainder of the second set.

The Vikings capitalized off another fast start to build a 5-1 lead and later a 9-5 lead. Augustana dominated the opening half of the third set, just like the second set, leading 18-12 after a service ace by Erika Bute. With the score 21-15, the Bulldogs would take over the third set going on a 9-1 run to take their first lead of the set at 23-21. Augie forced extras after being held at set point at 24-23 but the Bulldogs would take the third set 26-24.

Minnesota Duluth used a fast start to take an early 5-1 lead in the fourth set before Augustana tied things up at 8-8 after a Kate Reimann hammer. A Meredith Sutton kill gave the Bulldogs a 16-12 lead but Grace Haberland answered back with a kill of her own to bring the lead within three. That would be the closest the Vikings would get as UMD used a 4-0 run to bring the lead to 7 at 20-13. The Bulldogs would finish the set and the match on a 5-1 run to take the fourth set 25-14.

Thorson would finish with a team-high 36 assists on the afternoon and added four kills and 11 digs for her 10th double-double of the season. Payton Rosendahl recorded 12 kills while Grace Haberland finished with 11 kills. Izzy Sommers finished with five blocks while Abby Benson sent back four blocks. Erika Bute finished with 17 digs as Lexie Langley had 12 digs on the afternoon.

As a team, the Vikings recorded 43 kills, 41 assists and five aces. Defensively, Augie had 65 digs and 10 blocks.

Augustana finishes the season 20-10 and 13-7 in the conference.

"The team did well today, I'm proud of them for making the tournament," head coach Jennifer Jacobs said. "We just couldn't quite finish it out. We hope to be back next year. Overall, it was a good season and I'm proud of the way we battled at the end of the year. This team has a high ceiling and I am looking forward to the continued work with them!"