LA CROSSE, Wis. -- Senior outside hitter Michaela Gardner pounded a career-high 21 kills to lead 22nd-ranked Bellevue University to a 3-1 (25-5, 25-22, 24-26, 25-21) victory over Dakota State University Friday morning in the quarterfinals of the North Star Athletic Association Tournament at R.W. Beggs Gymnasium on the Viterbo University campus.
The Bruins (27-10), who are the No. 3 seed in the tournament, will face second-seeded University of Jamestown at 5 p.m. tonight in the semifinals. DSU ended its season with a 12-24 overall record.
Gardner also hit a career-high .349 in the win. Andrea Carson recorded her second double-double of the season with 12 kills and a match-high 16 kills while adding a service ace and a block. Shayla Scanlan finished with 11 kills, six digs, and a match-high six blocks.
Maddie Squiers directed the BU offense to a .242 hitting percentage while registering her team-leading 16th double-double of the season, finishing with 42 assists and 12 digs.
Kaylee Spreier paced the Trojan offense with eight kills, while Jazmayne Williams led the DSU defense with 16 digs and two blocks.
Gardner drilled eight kills on 13 swings with just one error as BU hit .414 in the opening set to cruise to BU's most lopsided set victory of the year at 25-5.
The Bruins outhit DSU .258 to .194 in the second set, paced by four kills each by Gardner, Carson, and Scanlan to earn the 25-22 win.
BU battled back from a four-point deficit late in the third set and held match point at 24-23 when Gabby Herlyn and Anna Schwint blocked Gardner to save the match and knot the set at 24-all. Two-straight BU attacking errors gave the Trojans the set at 26-24, forcing a fourth set.
Gardner and Carson both produced five kills in the fourth set and the Bruins led by as many as seven points before ending the match with the 25-21 victory, capped by a kill from Scanlan.