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Eric Peterson, Published November 13 2010

College volleyball: NDSU rolls on senior night

For the three North Dakota State seniors, the buildup to Friday’s match at Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse was a bit surreal because they were being honored.

“It’s really weird,” said Bison senior outside hitter Lauren McLaughlin. “To be honest with you it doesn’t feel like it’s over. I feel like we just started the season.”

McLaughlin had 13 kills and fellow senior Brooke VandenBergh added 12 as the Bison cruised to a 25-7, 25-19, 25-19 senior night victory against Centenary in Summit League volleyball.

“It’s sad,” VandenBergh said. “I can’t believe it’s already our senior year. Every good thing has to come to an end. … We were actually kind of nervous. It was something we had never done.”

McLaughlin, VandenBergh and Nicole Sheridan were presented with framed photo collages and flowers prior to the match. The Bison have an 84-26 overall record and 59-8 conference mark since those three joined the program. They have been part of two Summit League regular-season championships, one Summit League tournament championship and one NCAA Division I tournament berth.

“It’s weird to hear people say all the things you’ve done,” VandenBergh said.

The Bison (17-10, 13-4) clinched the No. 2 seed for the Summit League tournament, which starts next Friday at Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse. NDSU closes out the regular at 7 tonight against Oral Roberts.

“We’re lucky enough to be here next weekend for the conference of tournament,” McLaughlin said. “At this point it doesn’t really matter what our seed is. Our goal is the NCAA tournament, it always is. Even though we are not the No. 1 seed, it’s not stopping us from focusing on our goals.”

The Bison didn’t let the sentiment of the evening take away from their focus, especially early in the match. NDSU cruised to victory in the first set, scoring 17 of the first 21 points en route to a 25-7 victory. McLaughlin had five kills in the first set, while VandenBergh had four.

“It’s hard to beat any team like that,” VandenBergh said. “That means we didn’t make any errors.”

Sheridan finished with three kills, six digs and five assists as the Bison dispensed of Centenary

(3-22, 0-17) in less than one hour. The match lasted 54 minutes.

“We got to try a lot of new lineups today, which was nice,” McLaughlin said.

CENTENARY (kills-blocks-aces): Kern 0-0-0 (10 digs), Tibaldo 0-0-0, Lopez 5-0-0, Hurlbirt 9-1-0, Nuttall 0-0-0, Singleton 5-4-0, Feaster 0-0-0, Gilmour 0-0-0, Neese 1-0-0 (17 assists).

NDSU: VandenBergh 12-0-1, Lopez 2-0-1 (33 assists) McLaughlin 13-1-0 (16 digs), Knuth 9-2-0, Joki 5-0-0, Sheridan 3-2-1, Deyle 3-1-1, Nash 1-0-0, Henning 0-0-0, Lambertson 4-2-0, Kissman 0-0-0.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513. Peterson’s blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com