The University of Denver volleyball team continued their hot play at home, sweeping the North Dakota State Bison (25-23, 25-19, 25-11) in Hamilton Gymnasium on Sunday, Nov 11, marking Denver’s second-straight victory and a fourth-straight home win.
“I don’t think we’ve ever swept [the Bison] since I’ve been here [at Denver] either at home or on the road,” said DU coach Tom Hogan after the match. “I’m really proud we were able to sweep them.”
The Pioneers improved to 19-7 overall and 11-3 in Summit League play. North Dakota State fell to 11-15 overall and 6-8 in the Summit League.
It was a back and forth battle early on. With the set tied at nine, the Bison pulled away with a 4-0 run to take a 12-9 lead, but the Pioneers answered with a block from Ari Winters and Brianna Green and a service ace from Macy Carrabine. A 3-0 run put the Pios on top by one at 18-17 but the Bison refused to give in. Three tie scores down the stretch weren’t enough to silence Denver’s Lydia Bartalo who slammed three kills in the closing points to lead the Crimson and Gold to a 25-23 set one win.
“We wanted to [emphasize] our communication,” said Bartalo after the game. “We need to keep working together.”
A 5-0 Pio run midway through was the difference in the second frame, lifting the Pios to a 14-6 advantage. The Bison did their best to battle back cutting the deficit to as little as three at 21-18 but Denver buckled down, grabbing four of the final five points to run away with the set, 25-19.
The Pioneers kept their offense hot, opening the third set on an 8-0 run with Bartalo at the service line. NDSU was able to chip away at the Denver lead with four-straight points to make it 11-6 but DU pulled away for the final time, going on a 6-0 tear to take a 19-7 lead. A pair of freshmen in Brianna Green and Memphis Glasgow sealed the deal for the Pios, coming away with a block to lock in the third set, 25-11.
Bartalo led the Crimson and Gold offensively, recording a team high 12 digs and a .360 attack percentage while also chipping in a team high seven digs. Ellie Anderson notched a team high 20 assists followed by Lorrin Poulter who added 12. DU had 14 total blocks, with Tina Boe leading the way recording eight.
Denver will return to action in Hamilton Gym next Friday. Nov. 15 as the Pioneers face Omaha on senior night (7 PM MT). The game figures to be tough match, since the Mavericks took the Pios to five sets in Omaha earlier this season.
“We have a lot respect for Omaha,” said Hogan. “They are playing really well right now, and we’ve watched a lot of their matches on video….They are one of the top teams in our conference and they are going to bring it next Friday. It will be [our] Senior night, so it will be special for us as well.”
Thank you to Jason Evans for providing the quotes and photos for this story.