The Ferris volleyball team took its 3-1 record on the road to Minnesota to compete in the Minnesota Duluth Classic.
The Bulldogs opened play Friday with a match against Minnesota Crookston. Ferris defeated UM-Crookston by scores of 25-11, 25-18, 15-25 and 25-18. In the second match of the day the Bulldogs defeated Bemidji State with scores of 25-14, 23-25, 25-23 and 25-17.
The Bulldogs had contributions all over the court. Senior outside hitter Aly Brecht had a team high, 10 kills in the win over Crookston. Sophomore hitter Courtney Rehm notched 16 digs for the Bulldogs’ defense. Junior libero Brandie Merren added 13 digs and senior setter Samantha Fordyce had 12 digs of her own and 34 assists.
The Bulldogs were able to notch eight aces in addition to 11 service errors by the Golden Eagles in the opener. The win came at the expense of Minnesota-Crookston head coach Lee Anderson, who served as a Ferris assistant coach during 2003-04.
Both Brecht and Sutton had 10 kills each in the win over the Beavers in the second match of the day. Rehm recorded a season-high 21 digs with Merren contributing 14 digs from the back row. Fordyce posted 37 assists and seven digs in the win.
Bemijidi State had a 10 kill advantage over the Bulldogs’ 54-44, but Ferris out hit the Beavers by .79 points. The Bulldogs also had six team blocks and eight aces.
After winning both games on day one, the stage was set for a showdown with the No. six ranked team in the nation and tournament host Minnesota-Duluth.
“The Battle of the Bulldogs” was taken unfortunately by Minnesota-Duluth by scores of 29-27, 25-18 and 25-17. Ferris was edged by Minn.-Duluth in every major statistic, being outhit .318 to .213, out-dug 50-37 and out-killed 52-30. Merren had 11 digs of her own while freshman outside hitter Megan Vander Meer contributed eight kills. Fordyce totaled 24 assists in the loss.
The Bulldogs were able to bounce back in their final game of the tournament over Erskine, SC. In the win, Sutton recorded a team leading 18 kills, while Brecht added 11 kills. Merren had 17 digs while Fordyce added 40 assists to go with 10 digs.
“I think we played really well. We were expecting to take a few games from Minnesota Duluth, but we are looking forward to starting GLIAC play,” Rehm said.
“We definitely improved as the weekend progressed. We got to see some of our strengths as well as some areas we need a little more work. We were tested in ways we haven’t been before and it is awesome to have the opportunity to grow and improve before conference play starts,” Fordyce added.
The Bulldogs kick off Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action on the road next weekend at Northwood University 7 p.m. Sept. 14 in Midland.
The Bulldogs will then travel to Hillsdale Sept. 15 for a 2 p.m. showdown inside Hillsdale College’s Jesse Philips Arena. n