NDSU Volleyball Defeats UND in the 5th Set

Maeve Hushman, Sports Reporter

North Dakota State University defeated The University of North Dakota in the 5th set at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center Saturday Night. Even though the UND volleyball team played dominant 1st and 4th sets, they were out edged by NDSU in a match with frequent reviewed calls and a strange rhythm. While losses always sting, there were many things to be optimistic about after this game. The atmosphere was incredible, with 1,469 people in attendance. UND still sits comfortably in a qualifying spot for the Summit League Tournament later this month. This game also marked another incredible performance by Junior Setter Elizabeth Norris.  

This game had an irregular rhythm, probably due to the number of challenges. UND won the first set and took the lead in the second. NDSU seemed to adjust to them and came back to win the second set. The third set was extremely tight, with NDSU just finding the edge, but the fourth set was all UND; they took a quick, commanding lead and pushed the game into the fifth set.  

Early in the 5th set, UND was up 4-2 when NDSU challenged the call. The point was awarded to NDSU, tying the score 3-3 in the 5th set. After that, the set belonged to NDSU, with UND only scoring three more points in the 5th. “I thought that the momentum definitely changed when they challenged that ball,” Head Coach Jesse Tupac explained. 

“I think we were battling every day to get better,” said Tupac in the post-game press conference. Saturday night’s game was UND’s fourth 5th set match in a row, which is a difficult feat on both the physical and mental stamina of the players. But even in the later sets, UND never seemed to get tired or drop off.  

“I think that we are a team that is going to battle long and battle hard, and four five-set matches just proves that,” Norris echoed this sentiment in her post-game availability. “We were going to be tough no matter what, no matter how many sets it takes.” 

Overall, Coach Tupac is proud of his team’s progress. “We have a slew of athletes on this team, who prior to this season had never won a match in the Betty… they have been through the wringer emotionally, and I am just so proud of how far they have come…knowing that there is so much more that they can even get better at.”  

Norris was one of the players who had never won a match at the Betty before this season. Norris is having a show-stopping season, and her performance has been essential to the team’s success. She has six triple-doubles, placing her second in the entire NCAA. Beyond that, she is the only player in the Summit League to have a triple-double. Beyond the triple-doubles, her impact is felt and seen throughout the game.  

On Norris, Coach Tupac had nothing but glowing words. “She does everything, and that is a credit to not only her physical stamina but her mental stamina as well as the ability to come in and do so many different things.” He also praised Norris’s dedication to developing her skills in the off-season and furthering her abilities as a player.  

Despite all the personal praise and accolades she is getting, Norris attributes her success to her teammates. “I can only do what I do because everyone does what they do. It is really a team sport…It cannot be done alone,” Norris said while shouting out teammates Kortney Carney and Peyton Sewell for their contributions to her and the team’s victories.  

The Volleyball team takes on Denver this Thursday at 7:00 pm in the Betty. It is their second to last home game and another big game for all athletes on the Volleyball team. Be sure to go out and support all players as they prepare for the Summit League Tournament at the end of the month.  


Maeve Hushman is a Dakota Student Sports Reporter. She can be reached at [email protected].