Nov. 19, 2009

Courtesy Minnesota Duluth Athletics

Playing in the NCAA Division II Tournament for the eighth time in as many seasons, the University of Minnesota Duluth performed like a battle-tested squad in the Central Region quarterfinals. A powerful offense and consistent blocking led the No. 6 seed Bulldogs to a 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-21) sweep over the University of Nebraska-Kearney Thursday afternoon at the Gangelhoff Center in St. Paul, Minn.

No.15 UMD cruised to victories in the first two games, but had a tough time putting the Lopers away in the match's final set. After trading punches for most of the game, the two teams were deadlocked at 19-19 late in the set. The Bulldogs rallied at a crucial time, snagging six of the final eight points en route to the victory.

Freshman outside hitter Anna Zyvoloski led the UMD attack with a 12 kill effort. Middle blocker Alyssa Nelson notched 11 kills of her own and led the Bulldogs with a .417 hitting percentage. The junior from Hayfield, Minn., also made things difficult for the Nebraska-Kearney hitters as she finished with nine total blocks. Senior libero Rachel Jacobson led all defenders with 18 digs.

UMD hit .287 as a team and  matched a season-high with 14 total blocks. The Lopers were held to a hitting average of .143 and four total blocks.

Nebraska-Kearney ends the season at 33-3 with the loss. The Bulldogs improve to 23-8 and advance to the Central Region semi-finals with the win.

UMD will face No. 7 seed Metropolitan State College, who upset Northern Sun Intercollegiate Congference member Southwest Minnesota State University in the first quarterfinal match of the day, on Friday evening. The semi-final matchup is scheduled to kick off at 6:00 p.m.