Augustana weathered the few challenges that cross-town rival Sioux Falls had to offer and swept the Cougars 25-20, 25-17, 25-20. The Vikings improve their overall record to 17-9 and gain another crucial Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference victory to move to 11-6 in conference competition. USF falls to 14-13 overall including a 5-12 NSIC record.
This is the 14th straight victory for the Vikings over Sioux Falls, and now Augustana is a tremendous 11-1 against the Cougars in home matches. This win also secures another point for Augustana in the Mayor’s Cup and the Vikings increase their lead to 4-1 over USF.
After facing a slight deficit down 5-2, the Vikings took back the lead at 8-7 and methodically put Sioux Falls away in the first set, 25-20. A very balanced Augustana attack, six different Vikings registered a kill, produced 17 kills as a team. Holly Hafemeyer led the Vikings with five error-free kills and the Vikings swung at a .324 clip.
The Cougars hung around in the second set, but Augustana closed on a 10-5 run and took the second set 25-17. Jordan Spatenka drilled six kills in the second set and Taylor Hrdlichka continued to block the opposition with a solo block and a pair of block assists. Hrdlichka and the Vikings held Sioux Falls to just a .133 in the second set with the help of Kayla Walelrich’s six digs in the second stanza.
The feisty Cougars fought back from a 16-8 deficit to pull within two points, forcing an Augustana timeout. Senior Megan Bezdicek provided the spark the Vikings needed off the bench with two big kills and a block to give the Vikings back their cushion at 20-15. Augustana then coasted to a third set victory, 25-20, and took the match.
Hafemeyer paced the Vikings offense with 12 kills and just two errors, good enough for a match-high .391 hitting percentage. Spatenka finished with nine kills while Hrdlichka and Courtney Ysker chipped in with seven and six kill, respectively.
Marissa Johnson dished out 40 assists for a 13.3 per set average and Ysker led the defense with 15 digs. Wallerich and Grace Sanders each dug 11 balls as well.
The Vikings now head to the road for an afternoon match with No. 1 Southwest Minnesota State on Nov. 7 at 4 p.m.