A Minot State University volleyball team painfully short on experience has become painfully short on bodies.
The Beavers dressed just eight players for Saturday's 3-0 loss to Winona State University (Minn.) at the MSU Dome, and coach Travis Ward said the team's remaining five players are finished for the season with injuries.
Freshman Jasmin Pappa, a former Stanley High School standout, is out with a foot injury, Ward said. The remaining eight players include five freshmen, two sophomores and a senior.
Minot State University freshman outside hitter Mallory Sall attacks Winona State combo of Kate Horihan (8) and Paige Garriga.
Ward said Winona State's experience was key role in the Warriors' 25-22, 25-11, 25-21 win. WSU tied a program record with its 12th straight victory.
"They're more developed and a little more mature than we are right now," Ward said. "And that's not a negative to our kids at all, that's just reality. They have kids that are starting on their team that are sophomores, juniors, seniors. We have a sophomore and a senior starting on our team. It's gonna make it a long road at times."
The Warriors (13-2 overall, 5-0 Northern Sun) led throughout the first game, but the Beavers kept it close, pulling within 22-21 before WSU won three of the next four points to take the lead.
MSU (3-11, 0-5) struggled in game two and couldn't figure out the serve of WSU outside hitter Bekah Saugen. The junior served four aces in a five-point stretch as the Warriors went on a 9-0 run to take a huge lead.
"She did a good job of mixing it up," WSU coach Dave Simon said. "She's got a good float on them. Sometimes when you can isolate a passer, you can kind of pick on 'em and things just go your way."
MSU freshman middle hitter Erin Davis said the Beavers should've been able to handle the serves.
"I don't think the serve necessarily was difficult," she said. "I think it was just a communication breakdown in the back row. We were playing a new rotation that we hadn't played much and we just needed to be stronger in that."
Saugen and teammate Kate Horihan tied for a match-high 12 kills. The Beavers were led by freshman Mallory Sall, who had eight kills after a match-high 27 Friday against Upper Iowa. Ward said Sall was battling flu this week and "ran out of gas" against the Warriors.
"We didn't have enough without her being there," Ward said. "It changes your offense every time you lose somebody or somebody can't do the things that you normally depend on them to do. Mallory played a great match last night and even if she plays a good match (today), it opens up some other opportunities for our middles."
Simon sympathized with Ward. He's in line for his first winning season in four years at WSU after coaching young teams early in his tenure.
"That's one of the big things about our success this year, is we finally have more juniors and seniors than we have freshmen and sophomores," Simon said. "It's just a tough league to be young in, and then when you add injuries on top of it, that's just a double-whammy."
The Beavers play Valley City State University at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the MSU Dome.