PHOENIX, Ariz. - In the opening day of the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) volleyball post-season tournament at Fultz Memorial Gymnasium on the campus of Arizona Christian, the fifth-seed Dakota State dropped two tough matches to the top-seed La Sierra (Calif.) and fourth-seed Mayville State. The losses ended the season for DSU as they finished with the most wins since 2005.
DSU faced La Sierra to kick-off the pool play Friday morning. La Sierra, receiving votes in the latest NAIA Volleyball national poll, grabbed a 1-0 lead by winning the opening set by the score of 25-20.
The Trojans bounced back in the second set as they raced to an 11-4 lead. DSU used a .522 hitting percentage as they cruised to a 25-15 second set win to even the match at 1-1.
DSU led for the most third set before the Golden Eagles mounted a late furious rally. With DSU leading at 19-17, La Sierra scored seven straight points and secured a 25-20 third set win to lead the match at 2-1.
The Trojans built a 14-11 lead in the fourth set. As DSU led at 21-19, the Golden Eagles used a 4-0 run to take a 23-21 lead. Dakota State answered back and tied the set at 23-23. La Sierra scored the final two points of the fourth set (29-27) to secure the match.
Stephanie Kruggel had a double-double of 21 kills and 15 digs for DSU. Caitlin Pick and Lauren LaBar each added nine kills. Stacey Schuller contributed 40 set assists and recorded five service aces.
For La Sierra, Shelby Madigan had 20 kills. Maselina Semaia added 10 kills. Samantha Arriaran produced 35 assists. Nikki Cheong and Caitlin Jaussi each had nine digs.
Dakota State had 12 service aces in the match compared to the Golden Eagles' five. DSU suffered 15 service errors, while La Sierra committed 11 serving errors.
The Trojans hit better than the Golden Eagles - .244 to .236. La Sierra had 49 kills compared to the Trojans' 48.
In DSU's second pool play match on Friday night, the Trojans faced their former Dakota Athletic Conference foe Mayville State.
Dakota State jumped to a 16-4 lead in the opening set and routed the Comets 25-10 for a 1-0 lead. The Trojans used a .538 hitting percentage, while the Comets were at .095 hitting efficiency. DSU outhit the Comets 17-3 in the first set.
Mayville State answered back in the second set with a .571 hitting percentage for a 25-12 win to even the match at 1-1. The Trojans hit .069 in the second set.
The Comets came up on top in the third set by the score of 25-21 to gain a 2-1 lead.
With Mayville State leading at 11-10 in the fourth set, DSU used an 8-2 run to grab an 18-13 lead. The Comets answered back with a 5-0 run to tie the set at 18-18. DSU led at 22-21 before the Comets scored the final four points as DSU fell short (25-22).
DiPaola recorded 28 kills for the Trojans. Kruggel had a double-double of 15 kills and 21 digs. She had four service aces. Schuller recorded 42 assists. Katie Green added 10 digs.
For Mayville State, Brittany Olson had 10 kills. Emily Liljestrand had 16 digs. Laura Kolness had 16 assists. Ariana Odegard added 12 assists.
DSU outhit the Comets 54-37 in the match. The Trojans committed 27 attack errors and 13 service errors, while Mayville State had 14 attack errors and two service errors.
Dakota State finished their season with an overall record with 16-22. It was the final career match at DSU for seniors Kruggel and LaBar.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director