Volleyball team posts wins

North Dakota claims weekend victories over Idaho State and Weber State.

The UND women’s volleyball team got two more wins on the road this weekend, first beating Idaho State on Friday night in five sets, then Weber State in Utah in four sets (25-23, 25-18, 25-23, 25-16).

This marked North Dakota’s 17th win in its last 19 matches, keeping it in the No. 1 ranked position in the Big Sky Conference. Freshman Anna Pioske led the Green and White in kills both nights, combining for 44 on the weekend.

Beating the Bengals 

North Dakota’s first match of the weekend was intense all the way through with the two teams battling for a full five sets (25-23, 25-20, 25-21, 25-23, 15-9) before UND was declared the winner. Friday night saw Pioske crush her previous career-high of 16 kills when she slammed down 23 on the night.

“That was a very entertaining couple of hours of volleyball,” UND coach Ashley Hardee said. “Idaho State is well-coached with some great athletes. It’s hard to single anyone out on our side because it was a full team effort, but our setter Nikki Husfeldt was outstanding tonight, outdueling their setter who was the conference player of the year.

“We passed great in serve receive when we needed it most and blocked some huge balls in the final two sets.”

The match started off with a loss to Idaho State in set one, the Bengals taking it with a five-point run at the end. UND proceeded to win set two, another close match that ended on a stronger note for North Dakota. UND’s momentum took it to a 5-0 lead right away in set three. Idaho State’s stamina showed through when the home team tied the score at ten apiece and led from then on out, winning set three.

North Dakota had to win two more sets for the victory, and the team forced a fifth set after an intense battle to the end of the fourth, a kill from Pioske followed by an ISU attack error tying the teams at two sets each.

The fifth and final set proved easier for UND, which took the lead early on and held it. Six more kills from Pioske and a final swing from redshirt freshman Chelsea Moser put the set and match away.

Senior co-captains Ronni Munkeby and Lisa Parlich both added 16 kills on the night, and setter Nikki Husfeldt had a career-high of 65 assists.

Second win

Saturday night’s game was shorter, but not without intensity as UND went into four sets with Weber State. North Dakota (18-8, 13-1 Big Sky) got another big win with strong defense playing a big part in the victory.

“Blocking tonight was huge, led by Ronni Munkeby and Emily Thompson,” Hardee said. “We had 13 as a team after the second set, and that presence was huge.”

Munkeby and Thompson had eight and five blocks on the night, respectively. The team had a total of 16 blocks in the match. Defensive specialist Lauren Clarke also played a big role in UND’s defense, totaling 19 digs Saturday night.

Along with a strong defensive wall, North Dakota showed a powerful offense, as Pioske continued her kill streak. The freshman had a match-high of 21 on Saturday, followed by 12 from Parlich and nine from Munkeby.

The first two sets went by quickly as the Green and White held Weber State to .118 and .029, respectively, to give them a 2-0 advantage. However, the home team came back from intermission ready to fight back, and the Wildcats took set three to force at least one more set.

The fourth and final set of the night was quickly put away as UND took an early 7-1 lead and finished off the match with kills from Parlich and Moser.

North Dakota will continue Big Sky Conference play this weekend at home when it will host Northern Colorado on Friday and Sacramento State on Saturday. Both matches are set to begin at 7 p.m.

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