SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Augustana) — The Augustana Vikings clicked on all cylinders Saturday afternoon, defeating Minnesota State 25-21, 25-23, 25-19 to cap off Viking Days inside the Elmen Center.
The Vikings close the weekend with a 4-7 overall record and 1-2 record in NSIC action, while the Mavericks move to 5-7 overall and 0-4 in conference play.
“I’m proud of the way the team showed up tonight and pulled out the victory,” said head coach Jennifer Jacobs. “We had some great swings on offense and the defense was pretty steady from start to finish. The crowd brought the energy tonight, and we loved every bit of it.”
The Vikings outhit the Mavericks .250-.192 while recording more kills (47-30), digs (52-24), and blocks (7-5) in the victory. Kia Kriener powered the offense with 15 kills on a .393 hitting percentage, while Callie Hohenhaus added 11 kills while hitting .526.
Hohenhaus added three blocks defensively, while Maya Wente tallied four blocks, including three solo, and six kills. Erika Bute led the back line with 24 digs, while Lucy Bartee filled the stat sheet with 36 assists, seven digs, four kills, three aces, and two blocks.
AU revved the crowd up early, scoring the first three points of the match to set the tone. An 11-2 Maverick run put them in front 11-5, but the Vikings clawed back. After trailing 15-12, the Vikings accelerated to an 18-16 lead, with four different players getting at least a kill during the 6-1 run.
The set see-sawed from there, getting to a 21-20 score in favor of the Vikings before a 4-1 run, capped by a Kriener kill, punctuated a first set victory.
Neither team was able to gain separation during the early stages of set two, as neither team trailed by more than two points until back-to-back kills from Piper Asche and Wente gave AU a 13-10 lead. After a pair of MSU points, the Vikings took advantage of three Maverick errors to grow their lead to 16-12 and force an MSU timeout.
Following the timeout, the Mavericks came rumbling, scoring four straight points to tie the match at 16-16 and force an AU timeout. As MSU had just done to them. The Vikings scored in a flurry, using a 7-3 run to jump ahead 23-19. The Mavericks did not go away, clawing within one at 24-23 after denying a pair of set points, but Ellie Walker collected a kill from the back line to close the set and give AU a 2-0 lead into the break.
Kriener opened the third set with a on a mission, smashing three kills to help take a 5-2 lead early. After MSU evened the match at 7-7, The Vikings opened the match up, jumping to a 7-2 run, led by three Kriener kills, to take a 14-9 lead. A 5-2 MSU run would bring them to a 16-14 deficit, but as they did all night, AU squashed any hopes of a comeback by countering with a run of their own, this time a 7-2 run, to lead 23-16, a lead that would not be squandered.
The Vikings are back on the road on Friday, Sept. 29, playing at nationally-ranked Minnesota Duluth at 5 p.m.