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Eric Peterson, Published September 15 2010

College volleyball: Dragons prevail, Tvrdik leads MSUM victory with team-high 13 kills

When the score in the first two sets was tight Tuesday, Minnesota State Moorhead found a way to finish at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.

That late-set play sparked the Dragons to a 25-19, 25-20, 23-25, 25-15 victory against Minnesota-Crookston in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference volleyball.

The match was the conference opener for both teams.

“We just need to go out with that mentality that every point is (set) point,” said Dragons senior Laura Tvrdik, who had team-high 13 kills.

The Dragons (5-4, 1-0 NSIC) have won four of their last five matches.

“We’re learning,” Tvrdik said. “We work every day at practice at the things we’re weaker at just building on that.”

The Dragons trailed 18-16 in Set 1 before scoring nine of the next 10 points. Sophomore hitter Heidi Lensing had three kills during that key stretch. Freshman hitter Ashley Feldman smashed a kill at the middle of the net that gave the Dragons the first set at


In the second set, the score was tied at 20-20 before the Dragons scored the next five points for a

25-20 victory in that set.

“We had composure and we came through,” Dragons head coach Tammy Blake-Kath said.

MSUM had a balanced hitting attack.

Feldman joined Tvrdik in double-digit kills with 11 kills. Lensing had 10 kills. Sophomore hitter Meredith Egeland and freshman hitter Kayla Handevidt each added eight kills each.

Tvrdik was impressed with the contributions from both Feldman and Handevidt.

“They have played a huge role on the team,” Tvrdik said. “Every day they are getting better and better.”

Dragons senior setter Leigh Splittstoesser had a strong match with 31 assists, four aces, two kills and eight digs.

“She hustled after everything and she did a great job that way,” Blake-Kath said. “I think she taught something to our younger kids about what hustle means.”

UMC (kills-blocks-aces): Matykowski 0-2-0 (11 assists), Swann 10-0-1, Krikke 6-2-3, Reuter 5-0-0, Miedtke 5-1-0, Bauer 0-0-0, Hecht 1-0-0, Skeeter 5-0-0, Wiesner 0-0-2 (12 digs), Cologna 1-0-2.

MSUM: Splittstoesser 2-0-4 (31 assists), Lensing 10-0-1, Handevidt 8-0-0, Feldman 11-3-0, Pyfferoen 3-0-0, Tvrdik 13-1-0, Egeland 8-2-0, Ness 0-0-1 (28 digs), Olson 1-0-0 (20 assists), Buysse 3-0-0, Waller 0-0-0.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com