Slow starts plagued Augustana as they surrendered a 2-0 lead and dropped their second consecutive match, this time to the University of Sioux Falls in five sets (25-27, 25-27, 25-23, 28-26, 15-13) on Saturday evening.
Augustana (8-2, 0-2 NSIC) was led by Holly Hafemeyer and Courtney Ysker who both recorded career-highs in kills with 25 and 24, respectively and Marissa Johnson set a new career-best with 69 assists in the loss. Sioux Falls (8-2, 1-1 NSIC) was paced by three players recording at least 19 kills.
The previous 14 meetings between the schools went in favor of the Vikings with USF only managing to win one set since the streak began in 1981.
Ovecoming a 10-4 hole in the first set and clinging to an early lead in the second set the Vikings won both sets 27-25. Kayla Wallerich led a late charge in the first by serving the Vikings to five straight points and Ivy Pearson gave the Vikings a 1-0 lead with a set-clinching ace.
The Vikings jumped out to an 8-3 lead and never trailed in the second set despite several USF scoring surges. Ysker gave Augustana a seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead with back-to-back kills, ending the set 27-25 in favor of the visiting Vikings. Entering the match, Augustana was 6-0 on the season in matches they won the first two sets.
After the intermission, Sioux Falls jumped out to a 9-2 lead which held despite a Viking comeback. Consecutive Hafemeyer kills brought the Vikings within one point at 24-23, but Emily Johnson's kill pulled the Cougars back in the match at 2-1 with a 25-23 third-set win.
Once again the Vikings found themselves in an early hole, down 9-3 in the fourth set. Augustana eventually pulled even with the Cougars after a USF error and a Hafemeyer kill at 24-24. Sioux Falls' Kate Hart gave the Cougars a lead at 26-25 and a USF block evened the match at 2-2.
The Vikings were forced to use two timeouts in the first 10 points of the fifth set after falling behind 7-3. Augustana cut the deficit to one point three times, but Samatha Lovell's 20th kill gave the Cougars the match-clinching point at 15-13 in the fifth set.
Augustana finished with a .294 (77-20-194) attack percentage and the Cougars hit at a .314 (80-20-191) clip. Ysker tallied her fifth-straight double-double adding 19 digs to her 24 kills. Brittanny Cech joined Ysker with a double-double comprised of 12 kills and 12 digs. Kelsey Kaufmann ended the night with a career-high 10 kills and added four total blocks, helping the Vikings to nine total stuffs.
Augustana looks to bounce back with a trip to Wayne, Neb. where they face No. 7 Wayne State at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24.
Courtesy: Eric Zahn, Assistant Sports Information Director