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Cougars drop first volleyball match

The University of Minnesota, Morris opened up the 2010 season Wednesday with a 3-1 loss to visiting Valley City State.

Despite a 25-22 win in the first set, the Cougars were unable capitalize on the early lead, falling 26-24, 25-19 and 25-19 in the next three sets.

Seniors Jordan Olerud and Megan Theis led the way with 18 and 12 kills, respectively. Olerud's 18 kills also marked a game high for the night.

After winning in the first set, the Cougars' best effort may have come in the second set, where they combined to hit .417, committing just three errors before the Vikings took the game in overtime.

Playing in their first career game, a pair of freshmen had big games as Kaylie Clark and Emily Irey each stepped up for the Cougars. Clark finished the night with eight kills and 13 digs, while Irey got the start at setter and pitched in a team-high 20 assists.

Neither team hit extremely well in the third or fourth set and at the end of the match, the Vikings held the edge in team hitting percentage, with a .212 mark compared to just .166 for the Cougars. UMM made 26 errors on the attack and had eight receiving errors, compared to 18 and five respectively for the Vikings.

On the defensive side, Brita Humphrey led the charge with 26 digs as the Cougars piled up 78 on the night. At the net, the Vikings finished with 12 total blocks, compared to six for the Cougars.

The Cougars have a busy schedule coming up. They will spend the holiday in the northeast, at the Springfield Tournament this weekend, before heading to New Hampshire to close out the trip. In Springfield, Mass. they will be playing Springfield College, Daemen College (N.Y) and Rivier College. In New Hampshire, the Cougars will face head coach Chad Braegelmann's old team in Colby-Sawyer College as well as Plymouth.

Their next home game will be on Friday, Sept. 10 when they play North Central University at 4:30 p.m. on Jim Gremmels Court. Later that night, at 7:30 p.m. they will also face Mount Marty College (S.D.).