What: VCSU vs. Dakota State VB
When: Wednesday, Sept. 18, 7 p.m. @ VCSU Graichen Gymnasium
Valley City State University enters tonight’s contest looking for its first conference victory in the North Star Athletic Association.
In the North Star opener, the Vikings fell to University of Jamestown. Dakota State, meanwhile, earned its first conference win last week against NAIA newcomer Presentation College.
The Vikings are 6-10 overall. Dakota State is 4-13.
Valley City State is coming off a 2-2 weekend at the Peru State Claws Out Challenge. The Vikings swept College of St. Mary’s in the first match, avenging a five-set loss to them earlier this season. VCSU then suffered a loss in five to Mount Marty and a four-set loss to Peru State. VCSU ended the weekend with a dominating sweep of AIB (Iowa), 25-17, 25-11, 25-15.
VCSU found a balanced hitting attack in Nebraska. Middle Aurissa Martens led the team with 40 total kills in the four matches and was named to the All Tournament Team.
Kelsey Labodi had one of her best stretches of the season, tallying 37 kills on the weekend, including a team-high 16 in the five-set loss. Barbara Ector added 24 kills, Rachel Hummel had 21 and Alley Theroux added 18.
Tonight’s match is the start of a seven-day, four-match stretch for the Vikings. VCSU plays another North Star match at Presentation on Friday, hosts Briercrest College on Saturday, and then hosts North Star rival Mayville State on Tuesday, Sept. 24.
Dakota State also played in the Claws Out Challenge this past weekend, posting a 1-3 record. The Vikings and Trojans played two common opponents. Dakota State lost in three sets to both Mount Marty and Peru State. VCSU lost in five to Mount Marty and lost in four to Peru State.
Dakota State’s leading hitter this season has been middle Caitlin Pick, who has 119 total kills and is averaging 2.13 kills per set.
Notes: Martens now has nine matches this season with double-digit kills… Labodi’s 16 kills in last weekend’s match were a career high for the sophomore from Calgary, Alberta. It tied a team season-high, which has also been hit twice by Martens… Anna Neufeld, a senior setter from Steinbach, Manitoba, is 105 assists shy of 2,000 career assists… Martens, a senior from Manitou, Manitoba, is 178 kills away from reaching 1,000 in her college career… As a team, VCSU ranks No. 37 in the NAIA in total digs (880), and Martens ranks No. 48 in total blocks (49).