The Dragon volleyball team snapped its two-game home winning streak this week, as they dropped both matches in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference action.
Coming into the weekend, the Dragons were 10-3 overall and 3-2 in NSIC play. Opening the homestead against No. 10 Wayne State, the Dragons couldn’t find the momentum to knock off the Wildcats.
Sophomores Morgan Gradishar and Kaitlin VanWinkle and junior Maggie Gruber led the Dragons. Each had seven kills in the match.
“Our ball control and our defense wasn’t where it needed to be to challenge Wayne State,” head coach Tammy Blake said.
The Wildcats swept the Dragons in the match, 25-18, 25-21, 25-20. The loss dropped the Dragons to 3-3 in NSIC action.
Taking the court on Saturday, the Dragons looked to put an end to their two game losing streak and fell just short, losing the match in five sets.
The match went back and forth between MSUM and Augustana College before the Vikings took the last two sets.
The Dragons jumped out to a first set victory led by the strong play of Gradishar and junior Annie Palmquist. Palmquist led the way for the Dragons in kills with 21 and Gradishar turned in 20.
The Dragons were up two sets to one and leading in the fourth, before the Vikings took the fourth set to force a decisive fifth set.
The Dragons led early in the fifth set before going back and forth with the Vikings. The Dragons had a 13-11 edge in the final set before the Vikings went on a 4-0 run to close out the set and match.
“We made some critical mistakes at the end,” Blake said. “We (the coaches) reminded them (the players) that they need to communicate at the end of the match, so the close ones go our way.”
Blake said that she was happy to see the team bounce back on Saturday with a solid effort after dropping Friday’s game to Wayne State.
With the loss on Saturday, the Dragons fell to 10-5 overall and 3-4 in NSIC action.
The Dragons are back on the court this weekend in NSIC action as they look to earn two more victories in conference play.
Game time is 7 p.m. Friday against Minnesota, Crookston and 4 p.m. Saturday against Bemidji State.
BY BREANN LENZMEIER