UND spikes wins

VICTORY Team still holds a perfect record in the Big Sky Conference after weekend.

Junior Lexi Robinson jumps to hit the ball Thursday evening in the Betty Engelstad Sioux Cetner. Robinson posted 14 kills on 25 attempts for the Green and White. Photo by Chester Beltowski.

The UND women’s volleyball team won both Big Sky conference matches this past weekend, upping its conference record to a still perfect 4-0.

The matches took place in the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center, which welcomed more than 700 fans Thursday night and a rowdy 1,223 on Saturday.

Weber State

The UND women worked quickly on Thursday, sweeping Weber State 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 29-27).

Set one against WSU (4-13, 0-3 Big Sky) was quickly dominated by North Dakota after senior Ellen Krueger served two aces in UND’s four-point spurt, pulling ahead of the Wildcats, 11-7. Weber State fought back late in the game to make the score 18-17, but North Dakota held on to the lead for the duration of the set and closed it out on a five-point run.

Round two saw WSU take an early timeout after North Dakota hit its eighth point over the Wildcats’ one. UND’s strong front line overpowered the Wildcats’ defense and took set two home. Lisa Parlich, Ronni Munkeby and Lexi Robinson tallied 24 kills between the three of them with eight each.

North Dakota swung more efficiently in this set, with 18 kills and three errors to Weber State’s 12 and five, respectively.

The Wildcats forced UND to work for the win in the third set, upping their attack count (20) and making less errors than previously (three).

The score was tied a whopping 14 times in set three, with a total of five lead changes. North Dakota made its errors early in the game and got outplayed by WSU, but Parlich put down four kills to change the game around for UND.

The teams rallied back and forth until finally WSU was up 25-24. Facing a match point, North Dakota freshman Anna Pioske swung across the court for her ninth kill in the three sets, tying the game 25 all. Weber State got the advantage once again, but two kills from Robinson and a final swing from Munkeby put the set and match away, making UND’s Big Sky record a perfect 3-0.

Idaho State

Saturday night, North Dakota suited up at the Betty for its fourth Big Sky match of the fall season, when it defeated Idaho State in a grueling four-set match (25-20, 25-19, 25-20 and 26-24).

North Dakota lost the first point of set one, but took the lead and held onto it for most of the game until an ISU kill put the Bengals ahead 18-17.

Each point was a fought for, both teams siding out one after the other. A kill from UND’s Lexi Robinson tied the game 20-20, and a block from her and teammate Lisa Parlich gave North Dakota the advantage, 21-20. UND held onto the lead moving forward, Robinson putting down two more kills and Munkeby hitting in the other.

Set two was dominated early on by Munkeby, who had three kills in UND’s first seven points. The game stayed close throughout, ISU hitting back with just as much force. North Dakota’s Emily Thompson tied the game 16-16 with a resounding block, but the Bengals pulled away, the game ending on a UND hitting error.

UND won the next two close sets, with everyone in the crowd standing up for both long battles.

North Dakota took the first point in set three, and held onto the lead for the duration of the game, both teams fighting for the advantage. ISU had only nine kills to North Dakota’s 16, and swung with less accuracy, tallying six errors. UND put the set away, the last three points showing a balance of strong defense with a block by Parlich and Thompson and a dominating offense with Robinson and freshman Anna Pioske each putting down a kill.

The fourth and final set saw six lead changes with both teams using all timeouts. Munkeby put UND on the scoreboard first with a straight-down kill to the middle of the court. ISU took control after that, hanging onto the lead until Munkeby tied up the game 8-8 with her fourth kill.

“It’s nice knowing that we can win close matches and close out when we need to,” co-captain Munkeby said. “It gives us confidence going forward in the conference season.”

ISU had the game point advantage 24-23 after an action packed set. Munkeby came through yet again for North Dakota with a huge kill to tie up the game at 24 all. The communication on the court between both teams, combined with noisy and spirited fans made for a loud and energetic atmosphere. UND won the next two points as Parlich and Thompson teamed up again for a double block and ISU lost on an attack error.

North Dakota out-blocked ISU on Saturday night, 13 to 5, and came away with its seventh win in the last eight matches. The well-rounded team had 49 assists from setter Nikki Husfeldt and 26 digs from Lauren Clarke.

North Dakota will take on long-time rival NDSU on Monday night at the Betty at 7p.m.

Marie Monson is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at marie.iva.monson@my.und.edu