The student news site of University of North Dakota

Dakota Student

The student news site of University of North Dakota

Dakota Student

The student news site of University of North Dakota

Dakota Student


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UND Volleyball Defeats NDSU in Final Game

Aspen Jewkes

For Senior Kaycee O’Dell scoring the game winning point against North Dakota State University will go down as one of her best college volleyball memories.  

“It was just insane just to see the chemistry that we had,” O’Dell said. “All my teammates coming at me and just celebrating in this moment, all together, was insane … I could not ask for a better send off.”

The University of North Dakota volleyball team defeated NDSU in five sets on Senior Night to take their final home win of the season, but more important than the win was the chance to honor seniors Marissa Stockton and O’Dell, who have contributed to the program.  

“These two have been such phenomenal leaders for our team and for all of the athletes and the staff here,” head coach Jesse Tupac said. “We’re just so grateful for them and we were going to do anything we could to honor them.”  

The first two sets were UND’s best volleyball on display. They were able to pull ahead from tight leads and win the first set 25-17 and the second 25-16. UND was poised to sweep on Senior Night. 

UND struggled in the third and fourth sets, but they never stopped believing they could win the game. NDSU adjusted to accommodate and contest against UND. Although UND would put up runs in both sets, they struggled to pull ahead. NDSU won both the third and fourth sets 25-18, but according to Coach Tupac, the team did not let that shake them. 

“They definitely turned up the pressure, especially from the service lines during sets which kind of put us on our heels a little bit,” Tupac said. “But I thought one of the things our team did really well was they stayed super steady emotionally.” 

Stockton and O’Dell’s leadership played a key role in keeping the team calm even when falling behind, making sure to focus on the things they were doing right instead of getting caught up with what was wrong, which was Stockton’s strategy. 

“Instead of being like, oh, great pass or great swing or whatever, talking to our teammates about the angles that they are making…  and like the decision-making process,” Stockton said. “I think that our offense was on point and our defense was so insane tonight.” 

O’Dell stayed steady by chalking every opposing point up to bad luck. 

“I tell myself, unlucky,” she said. “I think today one of my biggest challenges was staying emotionally stable and for me, my emotionally stable is high. So, we take deep breaths and stuff like that.”   

UND dominated the fifth set right from the beginning, scoring the first point and pulling up to a 15-7 win, with the contribution of O’Dell’s game winner. 

“There is a point where we all kind of look at each other and say ‘Yeah, well there’s no way we’re losing this match right now,” Tupac said. “It helps to have a little bit of point cushion… the way that we were playing I wasn’t sure if it mattered… they’re making errors, we were going to make sure we put the ball down.”  

The play and leadership of both seniors was instrumental in UND’s victory over rival NDSU. Stockton and O’Dell both had double digit kills and Stockton would have set a personal best if she had not done that the game prior according to Tupac. 

“What more can be said. Kaycee, it is double-digit kills… It would be a career high for Marissa tonight had she not already cleared that high three nights ago,” he said. “But the two of them aside from their encore performance, what they do for this team off the court is just incredible.” 

For both seniors the experience was bittersweet, they were sad to leave behind UND volleyball but knew they were passing it off to capable hands. 

“It’s really hard to leave but it’s so nice to like, know what’s going to be happening and knowing that I’m going to be able to watch every single game next year and still keep in touch with the girls,” Stockton said. “I’m going to go to their weddings one day, they’re all coming to mind. So, it’s never going to end like there’s always going to be that connection.” 

On beating NDSU on Senior Night Stockton had one final sentiment, “that was Swag.”  


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

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