Team aces win

VICTORY UND volleyball team still undefeated in Big Sky Conference.

North Dakota came close to losing its perfect record in the Big Sky Conference earlier this week, but held on to beat Northern Colorado in five sets.

Monday night in Greeley, Colo., after falling in the first two sets to the Bears, the UND women pulled together in the final three close sets, 25-17, 25-15, 25-19, 25-22 and 15-12.

UND (11-7, 6-0 Big Sky) did not hit well in the first two sets, struggling with less than.100 figures in both. Northern Colorado capitalized on North Dakota’s struggle, and won bothset one and two by margins of eight and ten, respectively. UND tied the score once in each of the first two sets, but never was able to take the lead as UNC ran away with the sets near the end.

After a break in the locker room, North Dakota came out  in hopes of rebounded from its issues in the first set.

UND had a total of nine hitting errors in the final three sets, the same number that plagued set two alone. The overall communication seemed to flow better in their offensive lineup, and the errors in the back of the court also decreased.

“We didn’t do much in the first two sets to make them uncomfortable and give credit to UNC for that,” UND coach Ashley Hardee said. “We passed a lot better in serve receive after that and we were in a rhythm offensively.”

Set three proved to be just as competitive.

Freshman Candice Yager served the first six points for North Dakota, forcing the Bears into an early timeout. UND then pushed to a 10-3 lead and from there took the game, winning by six points.

Victory was only a game away after UND won set four, but it wasn’t easy tying the sets. The visiting team hit .425, the match high, in the fourth game, in which there were nine tie scores and four lead changes. North Dakota’s 20 kills overpowered the front line of UNC, as the women pulled together in a team effort.

Freshman Anna Pioske and senior co-captain Lisa Palich both had six kills, while co-captain Ronni Munkeby and setter Nikki Husfeldt had three apiece.

The volleys were long in this set, both teams looking to claim the win. The set could have gone either way — the score tied late at 22 all — but a block by Palich and Emily Thompson followed by two big kills for Parlich brought North Dakota up to par with the Bears at two games each.

UND jumped into the fifth and final set, claiming the first three points with Thompson and Munkeby getting a big block followed by Pioske and Munkeby both with kills.

North Dakota took an early 3-0 lead, but it didn’t last for long. Northern Colorado took advantage of two consecutive errors made by UND, setting up Kendra Cunningham for two kills in a row. This four-point run put the Bears in the lead, which was only briefly stopped by another kill from Pioske.

The Bears regained control and held onto the lead until a kill by Thompson tied the game 12-12. An attack error by UNC followed by two of Munkeby’s biggest kills yet won North Dakota its sixth of six Big Sky match, and its seventh match in a row.

Pioske led the team in kills for the third match in a row, closely followed by Munkeby and Parlich, who had 15 and 14, respectively. Defensive specialist Lauren Clarke had 11 digs, which were matched by Hustfeldt, who also set up 50 assists on the night.

The Green and White’s next match is during homecoming and will be played Saturday at noon in the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center, where UND will take on Portland State. Last season these teams met twice, each team getting a sweep.

Marie Monson is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at