MADISON, S.D. (DSU) – NAIA’s nationally ranked Bellevue (Neb.) outhit Dakota State (S.D.) 63-39 Wednesday evening, earning a 3-1 North Star Athletic Association women’s volleyball season opener at Gordon Lozier Athletic Center.  The Bruins won by the set scores of 25-11, 25-22, 15-25, and 25-16.

Dakota State, who received recognition on the NAIA Women’s Volleyball Coaches’ Top 25 national poll Wednesday morning, fell to 7-7 overall record and 0-1 NSAA conference record.  Bellevue, moved one spot from No. 13 to No. 12 this morning, raised their overall record to 12-1 and 1-0 NSAA record.

The Trojans await until next Thursday as they return home at DSU Fieldhouse, hosting another nationally ranked opponent.  DSU hosts No. 6 ranked Viterbo (Wis.) in the North Star match with the first serve at 6 p.m.

(12) Bellevue (Neb.) 3, (RV) Dakota State (S.D.) 1 – FINAL (25-11, 25-22, 15-25, 25-16)

Bellevue raced to a 12-3 opening lead, capped by Jada Nunn’s service ace and forced the Trojans to burn their first timeout.  DSU could get no closer than eight points as BU rolled to a 1-0 match lead after taking the first set at 25-11. 
The Bruins outhit the Trojans 15-5 in the first set. 

Dakota State and Bellevue went through a closely tight battle in the second set.  A kill by Hannah Thorsen knotted the second set at 17-17 for DSU.  The Bruins went on to score five straight points to grab a 22-17 lead and never trailed for the rest of the second set.

Kealy Kiviniemi smashed a kill to close the second set at 25-22, extending Bellevue’s match lead to 2-0.  The Bruins pounded 20 hits and hit .410 in the second set compared to the Trojans 13 kills and .281 hitting percentage.

DSU stormed to a 4-0 lead in the third set after a service ace from Makenzie Coplan.  Leading 12-7, The Trojans ballooned their lead with a 4-0 lead highlighted by blocks from Gwendolyn Vongkasemsiri and Brooklyn Grage and a service ace by Thorsen for a 16-7 lead.

Dakota State scored five straight points to widen their lead to 23-12 after a kill by Keira Murdock.  Grage smashed a kill to close the third set as DSU extended the match into the fourth set after winning 25-15.

The Trojans registered 13 kills and committed just one attack error in 53 swings (.226 hitting percentage) in the third set.  The Bruins were held to .069 hitting efficiency with 14 kills and 10 errors in 58 attempts.

Bellevue opened the fourth set with an 8-4 lead and never trailed for the rest of the set.  DSU could get no closer at 8-7 after a block assist by Murdock and Vongkasemsiri.

BU went on a 4-0 scoring tear as their lead grew to 12-7 after a block assist by Kaylani Reis and Allie Kerns.  The Bruins extended their lead at 17-9 after a kill by Kiviniemi and forced the Trojans to use their final timeout.

Bellevue secured the fourth set by the score of 25-16.  BU outhit DSU 14-8 in the fourth set.  The Bruins hit .209 (5 errors in 43 swings) and limited the Trojans to .000 hitting percentage (8 errors in 36 swings).

Three Dakota State players produced double-double in the match.  Sydney Schell smashed 15 kills and collected 10 digs.  She hit .298 in the match.  Maddi Langerock contributed 20 set assists and 15 digs.  Madalyn Groft tallied 11 assists and 15 digs. 

Coplan registered six kills and two blocks for DSU.  Murdock added five kills and three blocks.  Vongkasemsiri had four kills and five blocks. 

Kate VanRooyan led the Trojans’ defense with 19 digs.  Sophia Vanden Bosch added eight digs.  Julia Drietz, Thorsen, and Coplan each recorded a service ace.  Hannah Evans added two blocks.

Kerns paced the Bruins with 16 kills and three blocks.  Kiviniemi added 15 kills and three blocks.  Haley Fleischman recorded eight kills and two blocks.  Sidney Sledge had eight kills and six digs.

Mila Aiwohi produced a match-high 34 set assists for Bellevue.  Nunn added 23 set assists and nine digs.  She had three service aces.  Taylan Keefer led the Bruins with 22 digs, while Eve Fountain added 18 digs.

Dakota State recorded nine blocks in the match compared to Bellevue six blocks.  The Bruins collected 88 digs to the Trojans 77 digs.