When Minot State University looked poised to extend its volleyball match with Augustana on Friday night, the visiting Vikings kept swinging.
Augustana was rewarded for its aggressiveness, coming back to win two tight sets to complete a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference sweep at the MSU Dome.
The Vikings (21-7 overall, 13-6 NSIC) saved three set points in game two and two in game three in their 25-19, 27-25, 26-24 win.
Minot State University senior Kelsey Wingo (17) watches her attack sail between two
Augustana blockers Friday at the MSU Dome. The Vikings won in straight sets.
"You've gotta execute when it matters," MSU coach Travis Ward said. "We played a good match and I thought they did a great job. It's one of those things where Augustana's not a (bad) team by any means. ... They're really composed when they're down and they did a nice job staying composed and putting balls away."
Junior outside hitter Courtney Ysker and senior middle blocker Holly Hafemeyer - both first-team all-conference selections - combined for 26 kills and eight blocks to pace Augustana.
Vikings coach Ashley Buckley was pleased to see her hitters take big swings after losing a couple of close games in a 3-1 loss to Southwest Minnesota State on Tuesday.
"I thought that we were aggressive and that was the thing we talked about being consistent with tonight," Buckley said. "On Tuesday night, we lost two deuce sets so we focused a lot on that - just closing out games and finishing. I was happy to be on the winning side of it."
The Beavers (12-17, 7-12) didn't give themselves a chance in the first set, compiling 11 attack errors and three service errors.
Augustana's defense forced some of those errors as the Vikings didn't give MSU many hitting lanes.
"We had to make a couple of adjustments and our team was pretty fluid with that, but we blocked really well," Buckley said. "So I thought the game plan of narrowing down who they were going to set and then putting up a good double (block) worked really well against them. We had 12 blocks on the night ... which is more than you can ask of your team."
The Beavers trailed 19-14 in set two, but won five straight points to tie it. Junior Jen Dixon and senior Kelsey Wingo combined for two blocks on a subsequent 4-0 run that put MSU ahead 23-20.
An Augustana kill, followed by a Viking attack error, gave MSU three set points. But Augustana wiped them away with a pair of kills and a hitting error by MSU sophomore Mallory Sall. Ysker finished off the set with a kill.
"They mixed it up, tipped a lot and kind of caught us off guard," said MSU freshman outside hitter Lauren Dunkle, who led the Beavers with 13 kills. "But it was a lot of hustle on both sides."
MSU led by as many as seven in the third game before Augustana roared back to tie it at 19. The Beavers briefly regained the advantage, but the Vikings again played better down the stretch, closing the sweep on a cross-court Hafemeyer kill.
Dixon finished with a team-high 14 digs and 10 kills, and junior setter Emily Byrne tallied 35 assists.
The Beavers host No. 20 Wayne State (20-9, 11-8) at 6 tonight in their season finale.
Daniel Allar covers Minot State University athletics. Follow him on Twitter @DAllar_MDN.