Bears Fall in Five to Second Place Portland State
Nov. 4, 2006
GREELEY, Colo. - The University of Northern Colorado volleyball team dug itself an early 2-0 deficit before fighting back to tie the match at 2-2 before losing 3-2 (30-19, 30-27, 27-30, 26-30, 15-11) to Portland State University in Big Sky Conference play on Saturday night at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.
With the loss, Northern Colorado (12-13, 7-7 Big Sky) slipped to the fifth spot in the conference standings after Eastern Washington defeated Northern Arizona 3-1 also on Saturday. Despite having lost two conference matches in a row and three of its last four Big Sky matches overall, the Bears clinched a spot in the Big Sky Tournament (which starts Nov. 16) thanks to losses by Northern Arizona and Idaho State on Saturday. The Bears are now two matches ahead of Idaho State in the standings; six Big Sky teams will make the year-end conference tournament which will be held at the No. 1 seed.
Portland State (17-6, 12-2 Big Sky), who is in second place in the conference and is the only team to defeat league-leading Sacramento State, overcame six service errors in game one to win by a comfortable 11-point margin.
The Vikings used that momentum to grab a 21-14 lead in game two before Northern Colorado fought back. The Bears used a 7-1 run to pull within a point at 22-21 on a PSU attack error. Northern Colorado was once again within a point at 28-27 before back-to-back Bears attack errors ended the game and sent Portland State to the locker room with a 2-0 lead.
Portland State grabbed a 15-7 to open game three as the Bears chances looked bleak. The Vikings eventually led 24-20 before the Bears used a 10-3 run to grab its first set win of the night. Northern Colorado had a pair of blocks and Devon Crotteau had a pair of kills during the run.
That spark keyed the Bears in the fourth set as they led 19-18 before running off six of the next seven points in leading 25-19 on another Crotteau kill. A PSU attack error eventually ended the game and sent the match into the fifth set.
The Vikings scored the first three points of the decisive set and eventually went ahead by a 10-5 margin. But the Bears never-say-die attitude came through again as Crotteau had two more kills in a run and the team pulled to within 12-11 on a kill by Dulcie Stone. But Jessica Frederick had one of her 18 kills on the next point, putting PSU up 13-11. The Bears would not score again as Portland State claimed the match victory.
"I am proud of our team's response from our effort on Thursday night," said head coach Lyndsey Benson, referring to the team's 3-1 loss to Eastern Washington. "We were very aggressive hitting tonight and our outside hitters attacked instead of just tipping balls."
Crotteau led the Bears with 18 kills while hitting .255 (18-6-47); she added two aces and six digs. Stone had 15 kills and 16 digs to net her team-leading 14th double-double of the season.
Jessica Brodie had 24 kills and 24 digs to lead the Vikings. Portland State won despite committing 17 service errors on the night.
Northern Colorado returns to action next Thursday (7 p.m.) when it hosts Weber State. They will close out the regular season next Saturday when they host Sacramento State on Senior Night.