Rivalry game ends in celebration

VOLLEY UND defeats NDSU in electric atmosphere Monday evening at the Betty.


Junior Nikki Husfeldt (far left) celebrates a hit last year against NDSU. File photo.

The atmosphere was like no other as a record 2,688 fans crammed into the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center to cheer on the UND women’s volleyball team as it defeated long time rival NDSU Monday night.

The Green and White decisively won 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-15), with their all-around composure and outstanding hitting percentages proved to be too much for the Bison.

“It’s one thing to walk out in conference game, but to walk out in a rivalry game like this is — I mean you’re sweating, your heart’s pumping, it’s just something that you can’t explain, and the support we had tonight was just unreal,” senior co-captain Ronni Munkeby said. “I grew up with this rivalry in my backyard, and so it’s always nice to come out on top and have a little bit of bragging rights.”

UND made only five errors the entire night, which played a big part in its victory, along with holding the lead for the entire match.

Once again, Munkeby was one of the leaders on the court for North Dakota, tallying 13 hits with zero errors and holding high expectations.

“Every game that we step on the court to play, we expect to win,” Munkeby said.

Also with zero errors was co-captain Lisa Parlich, who finished the night with eight kills and hit a respectable .727.

“Lisa and Ronni tonight, no errors between either of those two was great,” UND coach Ashley Hardee said.

The real stand out of the night was freshman Anna Pioske, who has been playing well all season, but stepped her game up for the big match against the Bison.

Pioske led UND in kills, slamming 15 down. She had only three errors, hitting .500. Pioske also had two assists, four digs and one solo block on the night.

“Anna certainly did a great job of attacking,” Hardee said. “But some of the things that you don’t see in the stat sheet … just kind of taking care of the easy plays and really being locked in, she did a great job of that.”

The freshman’s actions were supported by loyal fans in a new type of atmosphere.

“I’ve never played in front of a crowd like that,” Pioske said. “The fans were amazing tonight.”

Taking it quickly

The three sets went by quickly Monday night at the Betty UND was able to maintain composure and bag the wins efficiently. Emily Thompson got the first point of the night for North Dakota on a right-side kill.

The game stayed close with both teams attacking the ball fiercely, until a couple of kills from Munkeby and one from Pioske put UND ahead, 13-10. UND kept pushing after that as Lexi Robinson put the pressure on, adding five kills to put the set away.

Set two went much the same as the first, UND gaining even more composure to finish the game off quickly. UND’s front line was almost perfect, only making one error in the set.

UND setter Nikki Husfeldt had two kills, 35 assists, five digs and one block assist on the night, playing a crucial role in choreographing each play.

The third and final set was full of emotion as the crowd grew even louder. Hardly a fan was sitting. UND’s Lauren Clarke got the momentum pumping with a service ace right off the bat, and from there on out, North Dakota’s chemistry and accurate swinging earned it its third rivalry match in a row against the Bison in the last three years.

“We did a fantastic job, I don’t know if that’s even a good enough word to describe the way we attacked the ball tonight,” Hardee said. “The crowd was great, the energy was good. It was pretty special. These games mean a lot to me.”

The UND women have won eight of the last nine games, and hope to continue the streak Saturday when they travel to
California. to play Sacramento State.

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