UND settles for a split

Hunter Plante, Staff Writer

The Hawk take one and leave one on the road over the weekend

The Fighting Hawks soared into Idaho and Utah this past weekend on Friday and Saturday games against Idaho State and Weber State, respectively.

Coming into the weekend, UND was sitting at top of the north division in the Big Sky with a record at 7-1 in the Big Sky conference and 15-8 overall, and the target has been on their back for some time now.

If UND wants to make its first NCAA tournament in program history, it starts with winning on the road in front of a tough crowd.

During Friday night’s game against the Bengals of Idaho State, the Hawks got off to the start they wanted, as freshman Ashley Bruggeman had back-to-back kills to give UND the 26-24 win in set one.

In the second set, UND would be at four straight set points, leading the Bengals 24-19, but the Bengals would claw back and cut the UND lead to three. 

Junior Chelsea Moser did what she does best by getting UND a point when they need one, and she gave UND a victory in the second set.

The third and fourth set would go to the Bengals. In both sets, Idaho State would jump out to a quick lead, and the Hawks found themselves in a spot that they were unable to fight back.

The fifth set was a back and forth affair that saw the Hawks jump out to a 10-8 lead. The Bengals would dominate from there, as they took ahold of the match in the final moments to complete the comeback and win the fifth set, 16-14.

Although UND has a good record in the Big Sky, this loss didn’t sit well with coach Pryor.

“We have been talking about this all year. They simply pick and choose when it’s convenient for them. They just can’t do that and accomplish anything,” head coach Mark Pryor said.  “You can’t pick and choose when you turn it on and turn it off. This is the most disappointing loss I have had in my time here at UND.”

This isn’t something Pryor or his staff hasn’t brought up to the team before.

“We as a staff have told them that since the beginning of August. It’s time they figure it out,” Pryor said.

Sydney Griffin and Tamera Merseli both had double-doubles on Friday night. For Griffin, it was her sixth, while it was the ninth for Merseli.

UND had to have a short memory, however, as they made the hour and fourty-five minute trek to Ogden, Utah for a matchup with the Weber State Wildcats.

UND defeated the Wildcats, 3-1, to stay tied on top of the North Division with Northern Colorado, and just one game back for the overall lead of the conference, which sees Northern Arizona on top of the Big Sky.

Much like she was on Friday night, Sydney Griffin was outstanding on Saturday night. Griffin finished the day with 10 kills and 51 assists, her seventh double-double of the year, and second consecutive.

Coach Mark Pryor was impressed with how his setter played against one of the most improved team in the Big Sky.

“Tonight we played against the most improved team in the league in Weber State. I fully expect them to be in the Big Sky tournament,” Pryor said. “They had no answer for Sydney Griffin attacking tonight. Because she was so offensive, it really opened up other things for the other hitters.”

UND will return to the road as they will play three matches away this week. UND will first take the trip down I-29 for a matchup with the NDSU Bison.

Hunter Plante is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]