Madalyn Laske, Published October 18 2013
Fassbender leads Bison volleyball to second win of season
On Friday night, Fassbender led the way for the Bison’s second volleyball victory of the season. NDSU defeated Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne 28-26, 25-22, 15-25, 25-22 at Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse.
“We’ve been working so hard in practice to try to keep our energy up, even though we haven’t been having the greatest of a season,” Fassbender said, “and having that hard work payoff is feeling really great right now.”
Fassbender, who has developed into a go-to hitter, finished with 19 kills. Four of those came in the Bison’s final five points of the fourth set to seal the win.
“Knowing that last year there would be only four returners, I knew I would have to step up, and I’ve been trying to take that on as well as I can,” said Fassbender, an outside hitter.
The Bison (2-17, 2-4 Summit) start four freshmen, one sophomore and one senior.
“The last couple weeks she’s stepped into (a leadership role) really nice,” said head coach Kari Thompson. “She’s that leader, but she needs support, too.”
It was the NDSU defense that supported her.
Freshman and Grand Forks native Hadley Steffen notched a season-high 17 digs, 11 coming in the first set.
“She’s such a competitor, and I think that’s what shows,” Thompson said. “She’s a dig stealer, but I like that mentality defensively. That’s what you got to have.”
NDSU’s scrappy defense was not enough to stop Emily Spencer tally a match-high 24 kills and a set win for the Mastodons (10-12, 2-4).
“I’m really happy the way we bounced back in that fourth set. Even though we were behind for a lot of it, we came through in the end,” Thompson said.
This was the Bison’s third time in conference play to go to four sets. One of those was NDSU’s only other victory, which happened at home against South Dakota State.
“That was a very, very strong 1-17 team (coming into the night), and I can see where their tough schedule early on helped prepare them for Summit League (play). It’s a very good team,” said Fort Wayne head coach Kelly Hutton.
The Bison will look to string together a winning streak as they take on Indiana Purdue-Indianapolis tonight at home.
“We talk about being in pressure situations and kids stepping up,” Thompson said. “And for the young kids that we have, it’ll go a long way for them for motivation to feel that success.”
FW (kills-blocks-aces): Spence 3-3-0 (48 assists), Ripley 6-7-0, Spencer, 24-3-2, Heckman 12-4-0, Wienkes 13-2-1, Dryden 0-0-2, Milligan 0-0-3 (17 digs), Johnson 7-2-0.
NDSU: Dombeck 0-0-1, Claxton 3-0-0 (46 assists), Steffen 4-1-2 (17 digs), Jessen 0-0-1, Miron 9-1-0, Fassbender 19-1-2, Minnick 13-2-0, DeGagne 10-2-0.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Madalyn Laske at (701) 241-5549