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Eric Peterson, Published October 19 2012

Dragons' Ness reaches 2,000 career digs in five-set loss

MOORHEAD – Katy Ness reached a rare mark Friday at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.

The senior libero became only the second player in Minnesota State Moorhead volleyball history to reach 2,000 career digs.

Ness reached the milestone early in the fourth set and finished with 26 digs for the match. Augustana spoiled Ness’ historic evening, rallying for a 19-25, 25-19, 14-25, 25-16, 18-16 victory in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play.

“She’s worked really hard to get to where she is at,” Dragons head coach Tammy Blake said. “She brings a lot of intensity on the court as well as a lot of heart. Defense is just having the will to want to play a ball up and she definitely has that.”

Ness now has 2,008 digs for the Dragons, and is in second place on the all-time list behind Calla Oftedahl. Oftedahl (2005-08) finished her career with 2,331 digs.

“I have to give my teammates a lot of credit,” said Ness, who is from Ada, Minn. “I can’t take the whole court by myself. Being out there for four years also helps.”

The Dragons (12-10, 4-9 NSIC) have lost four consecutive matches with the past two losses going five sets.

“We’ve got to come together as a team and trust one another,” Ness said.

The 5-foot-7 Ness played outside hitter in high school for Ada-Borup. She never envisioned racking up more than 2,000 digs during her college career.

“I never even got 1,000 digs in high school. I was an outside, so it was kind of a shock right away,” Ness said. “I had no idea I was getting close to 2,000 until this year. I never thought anything of it.”

Ness picked up her 2,000th dig on a tip shot with Augustana holding a 6-2 lead in the fourth set. The Vikings went on to win that point.

“It’s a good feeling,” Ness said of the milestone.

The Dragons were in position to win the match, taking a 7-2 lead at the start of the fifth set. The Vikings responded with 11 of the next 13 points to take a 13-9 edge.

Sophomore Maggie Gruber’s kill gave the Dragons a 15-14 lead and capped a 6-1 MSUM run. Augustana staved off that match point and scored four of the next five points to secure an 18-16 victory in the decisive fifth set. Taylor Hrdlichka’s closed out the match for the Vikings with a kill.

“We have some seniors on the floor, but we also have some freshmen out there as well,” Blake said. “They’re having to play some big roles out there. … It can go either way if you go into the fifth set.”

AUGUSTANA (kills-blocks-aces): Johnson 0-2-0 (52 assists), Witt 0-0-0, Wallerich 4-3-4, Ysker 12-3-1, Hafemeyer 15-6-0, Hrdlichka 15-6-0, Bielski 0-0-0, Niesen 0-0-0, Sanders 1-0-0 (24 digs), Spatenka 17-1-0, Pearson 0-0-0.

MSUM: Krenske 0-0-0, Gruber 15-5-0, Egeland 9-8-0, Lensing 12-3-0, Olson 1-1-0 (31 assists), VanWinkle 7-9-0, Ness 0-0-2 (26 digs), Palmquist 11-3-0, Wolpern 3-4-0, Henning 0-0-0, Baer 0-0-0.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com