Season starts slow

INVITATIONAL: UND has a rough start to its season after tough battles over the weekend.

The UND Women’s Volleyball team had a rough start to its road season, losing to all of its opponents.

North Dakota played the University of Alabama-Birmingham to start off the Middle Tennessee State University Invitational, losing the first three sets to put a quick end to the match.

Just a few hours later, North Dakota faced Austin Peay and lost after a drawn out battle of five close games. Saturday brought with it the same story, but a different verse. The women started off the second day of the tournament playing Virginia Tech and lost quickly in the first three sets. The evening match against host MTSU was a five-set heartbreaker, leaving the women with a 6-1 record overall and 0-4 in their first road trip.

North Dakota began its road season with a high hitting percentage, swinging .324 against UAB in the first set Friday afternoon. Although efficient, the ladies’ 34 kills were not enough to keep their opponent at bay. The Blazers got stronger with every game, and after snagging the first set 25-23, they went on to win the next two 25-18 and 25-21, respectively.

The second match Friday was much longer. The Lady Governors ousted North Dakota 26-24 in the first set and 25-23 in the second, but UND came back in the third and fourth, winning 28-26 and 25-20, forcing a fifth set. The Governors took the match 15-6, beating their midwest opponent with a stronger offense.

Saturday started much the same as Friday with a 3-0 loss to Virginia Tech. Like the start of many of North Dakota’s matches, the first set was a battle to the end. Both teams had 14 kills, but UND had seven errors to Virginia Tech’s five, which made all the difference in the 25-20 loss.

The second game was more of a struggle, ending more quickly 25-16. North Dakota put up a good fight in the third set, but with fewer kills and more errors, the women gave up the set and match with a third set final score of 26-24.

Middle Tennessee State, the tournament host, went five games with North Dakota, ultimately taking the match and leaving UND with a 1-6 record overall and 0-4 in the tournament. The final heartbreaking match began with an 25-18 loss for UND, but was followed by a decisive 25-14 comeback in the second set. The third set was a rally back and forth until the end, when UND struggled to close, losing 26-24. North Dakota battled back in the fourth set, winning 25-21 to force a fifth and deciding set.

UND had more attacks, but overall more hitting errors in addition to a game-altering amount of service errors, which gave MTSU the opportunity to close the set and match, 15-10.

North Dakota will continue its road season in New Orleans, La. next weekend, where it will face three teams in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Collegiate Classic.

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