The University of North Dakota women’s volleyball team hosted three teams this past weekend
for a home tournament, the UND Classic. UND finished up right behind the University of Akron
who took home first place.
UND took down Eastern Washington University on Thursday night but were unable to come
away with the win against Akron on Friday to seal the deal. The Fighting Hawks are now 8-6 for
Thursday night was an exciting night for the team, as well as the large fanbase in attendance.
UND was down 2-1 after three sets before coming back to take the win in five sets.
“We fed off the energy when we needed to, and that’s the advantage of playing at home,”
Head Coach Jeremiah Tiffin said.
The two stars of that game had to be junior middle hitter Lydia Rutten and senior outside hitter
Ashley Brueggeman. Rutten walked away with 18 kills for the night, the most of any attacker in
the game. Brueggeman showed up with 11 kills and 11 digs and joined a group of 18 total UND
volleyball players to record 1,000 kills.
“(Brueggeman) has done every single thing that we want her to do,” Tiffin said. “She leads the
team, she delegates responsibilities, she decides what we’re going to do in this situation and
this situation. She has done everything that we expect a leader to do.”
Friday night brought a new challenge with the University of Akron, a strong team that Tiffin
mentioned would be similar to other Summit League competitors.
Akron took down UND in three sets in the finale of the UND Classic, yielding the MVP of the
tournament middle blocker Ashley Richardson. Richardson recorded 11 kills against UND.
“It was just not our night,” sophomore middle hitter Lexi Ahrens said. “We can be way more
physical. We know our talent is there and we are going to work really hard in practice to get
back in it.”
Now that the UND Classic is over, the Fighting Hawks will open up conference play on Friday in
Omaha, Neb. against the University of Omaha. Omaha is currently 7-6 overall right behind
North Dakota in Summit League standings. Although, all of the teams have yet to open
Tiffin was not happy with the way the match against Akron went on Friday, but he was
confident that the team can use it for preparation moving forward.
“We have to take that mindset of – we can’t wait for half of a set or three-quarters of a set to
(get aggressive),” Tiffin said. “We have to do that from the beginning. Akron hits hard and that’s
what we have to expect. There’s going to be some (Summit League) teams that can just pound
and we have to defend that. This is a good wake-up call for us before conference play.”
The wake-up call may be just what the team needs to continue their growth forward. Tiffin was
confident that the team has grown mentally, physically and socially from the games they have
played in the beginning of this season.
After Omaha on Friday, UND will play the defending Summit League champions, the University
of South Dakota away in Vermillion, S.D. The next time UND will be home is going to be Oct. 4
against Western Illinois at 4 p.m.
Make sure to show your support at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center The team counts on the
Fighting Hawks fans to keep them going during tough games.
“The fans were great. They are always great,” Ahrens said. “They brought us a lot of energy this