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Jeff Kolpack, Published October 15 2012

Lambertson, Joki lead NDSU to non-conference volleyball win over Drake

FARGO – The North Dakota State seniors have three scheduled home matches left in their volleyball careers. They’re hoping there’s at least four.

That would mean the Bison will have qualified for the Summit League tournament that they’ve already been designated to host. NDSU is currently in a three-way tie for the fourth and final tourney spot.

The Bison are gaining steam. A 25-21, 27-29, 25-21, 25-23 nonconference win over Drake University (Iowa) Monday night at Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse was their fourth victory in five matches and there’s nothing like winning to accumulate momentum.

“We took it as a motivating game,” said senior outside hitter Brynn Joki. “If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll do well the next few games.”

The Bison made it tougher on themselves against a Missouri Valley Conference team that is 3-17 overall, especially in the second set when a nine-point Drake run erased an early 9-4 Bison lead.

Later, NDSU could not capitalize on four set points. The Bulldogs had one chance to end it, and they made good on it in the 29-27 win.

It ruined a second straight set where Joki was the money player in the final five points. She had two kills and a block to end the opening set and scored four straight late in Game 2.

Joki finished with a statistical all-over-the-court night with 18 kills, 14 digs, 5 blocks and a service ace.

The Bison now hit the road for league games at Indiana Purdue-Indianapolis and Western Illinois, two teams that won in Fargo last month.

“We’ve talked that we have a just a few games left against these teams and we have to show our best effort and not have any regrets,” Joki said. “It’s the second half of the season and we want to go out with a bang.”

Megan Lambertson provided the biggest bang at the net with 18 kills and a .516 hitting percentage.

“Volleyball is a definite momentum game,” said NDSU head coach Kari Thompson.

It wasn’t the smoothest overall team outing, said head coach Thompson, but she’ll take it. The Bison return in two weeks when they host Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne and Oakland, two teams they’re battling with for a Summit playoff spot.

“This is when you want to put the wins together,” Thompson said.

DU (3-17) (kills-blocks-aces): Meyer 0-0-1, Tramosljanin 11-0-0, Effken 9-4-1, Dulek 6-2-0, Platte 12-1-0, Mancini 13-2-0, Howerter 0-0-0, Daum 1-2-0, Brown 1-0-4, Madden 0-0-1.

NDSU (9-12): Yager 3-1-0 (44 assists), Dombeck 0-0-0 (20 digs), Joki 18-5-1, Lambertson 18-2-1, Cammack 10-1-1, Whalen 6-4-0, Listebarger 0-0-0, Henning 0-0-1 (24 digs), Fassbender 2-0-0, Riese 0-0-0.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia