Inconsistent MSU falls to St. Cloud State

Minot State University outside hitter Mallory Sall picked the wrong night to shine.

The sophomore from Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, poured in 17 kills at a .389 clip for her best performance at home this year.

But the rest of the Beavers combined for a woeful .038 hitting percentage, and MSU dropped a 25-19, 25-14, 23-25, 25-15 decision to St. Cloud State on Saturday evening before 158 at the MSU Dome.

MSU coach Travis Ward said inconsistency has become a nasty habit for the Beavers (7-11 overall, 3-6 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference).

“(Mallory) had a nice match,” Ward said. “Unfortunately, today we have a nice match with Mall and a bad match with (junior outside hitter Jen Dixon). Tomorrow we have a great match with Jen but a bad match with Mall.

“You see that they’re all really capable of being successful. We’re very capable as we go up and down our roster, but it just has to be consistent.”

In the opening set, the Huskies (12-5, 6-3) seized a 15-12 advantage after Ward received a red card – which results in a one-point penalty – for bickering with an official. MSU fought back to tie the score at 15, but SCSU won five of the next six rallies for a four-point buffer and three of the final four points to close out the set.

The Huskies’ final three points of the first frame came on MSU attack errors.

“It was a lot of our mistakes,” Sall said. “We came out and we could’ve executed and we just didn’t on some points.”

Erratic hitting continued to plague the Beavers in the second set. Sall’s teammates recorded five kills and seven attack errors.

SCSU junior setter Erin Ohlemann mixed pace well to keep MSU’s defense a step behind.

“We needed to move it around,” SCSU coach Michelle Blaeser said. “Our setter, we told her we can’t just kick it outside and it sort of helped us to move the hitters around.”

In the third game, MSU dug itself out of 10-6 and 17-14 holes to eventually extend the match to a fourth set.

Ward said MSU’s 60-percent sideout clip showed good resolve from his team. The Beavers had only four attack errors – their least in any set.

But the Huskies ran away with the final set, reeling off three points or more in a row on four different occasions.

Danie Domeier and Ellie Dietzen finished in double figures for SCSU with 15 and 10 kills, respectively. Ohlemann had 43 assists and four kills on deft, second-ball drop shots.

Dixon recorded 11 kills for MSU, but had a match-high seven attack errors.

“I thought (SCSU) did a nice job tonight,” Ward said. “We didn’t have kids that put balls away.”

Ryan Holmgren covers high school sports and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @ryanholmgren.