Volleyball Tops Fort Wayne for Second Conference Win
Published: Monday, October 21, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 21, 2013 14:10
Jenni Fassbender wanted to make sure her NDSU volleyball team didn’t let this one slip. Fassbender tallied the final four kills that held off a Fort Wayne comeback in a 28-26, 25-22, 15-25 25-22 win.
Fort Wayne threatened a comeback against the young Bison team, but NDSU stayed composed with a come-from-behind fourth set win to improve to 2-4 in the Summit League.
“I thought in the fourth set, we needed to work together as a team,” freshman Hadley Steffen, who had a season-high 17 digs, said. “We just needed to shake the mistakes off and work together as one.”
NDSU came out firing in the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse, jumping out to a 2-0 lead. The youthful Bison went toe-to-toe with Fort Wayne, but unlike the past, NDSU was able to nab the final points. The first two sets saw 20 ties and eight lead changes.
A balance of scoring proved its difficulties for Fort Wayne defensively. The duo of Fassbender and Emily Minnick combined for 32 kills in the match, with Fassbender leading the charge with 19. Dani DeGagne also hit double digits with ten kills and Emily Miron contributed nine.
“I think that is important for us to be successful, is having that balanced attack,” Thompson said. “Jenni can do some nice things, but when teams are keying on her and only her, it makes it really easy to defend us. But it is enticing to set Jenni all the balls.”
With a convincing 2-0 lead, the Bison got back on its heels. Fort Wayne dominated the third set and the comeback looked to be on when they jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the fourth. But the freshman-dominated NDSU team maintained their composure.
“I didn’t sense any (panic in our players) at all,” Thompson said. “They knew the ball was getting hit at us and we could make those plays. They’ve been trained to practice that and we’ve made those plays. We talked a lot about you don’t play the game where you’re winning it or you’re losing it, you’re playing the game.”
The Bison made the adjustments and slowly climbed back into the fourth set behind the lethal spikes of Miron, Minnick and Fassbender.
“During the timeout, we focused on what we were doing well and what we needed to improve on, nothing else,” Steffen said.
Down 18-19, Miron rattled off three kills and the Bison led 21-20. Fassbender took it from there. Her four kills put an end to the valiant comeback and the Bison won its second game of the year.
“It’s going to be a team effort,” Thompson said. “We’re finally getting to that point where it’s not just one person stepping up and trying to win it. It’s that team effort and it’s going to take different people on different nights.”