GRAND FORKS, N.D.-- Perserverance was the key word in North Dakota's 3-1 (25-18, 19-25, 25-23, 25-22) win against Sacramento State Saturday afternoon in Big Sky action. With the help of an increasingly louder crowd of 850 fans, UND wiped out a 14-point defecit in the final set to stage a monumentous comeback.
The fourth set featured a little bit of everything. A 6-1 start followed by a 10-2 lead had the Hornets seemingly comfortably in front. UND (7-8, 3-2 Big Sky) exhausted all of its efforts to attempt to slow the surging Hornet attack by burning through both of its timeouts early and substituting at multiple positions. Little of that mattered until Emily Thompson and Lisa Parlich were in on a block to make the score 17-5, kick-starting a crazy run of points by the home team.
UND started to get a bit of momentum, and Sacramento State (5-10, 1-5) was forced to take a stoppage with a 17-9 lead. UND then continued the run by scoring five of the next six points and the visitors had to take another timeout to quiet the now-raucous fans.
It did not slow the home team as UND melted away the once-large Hornet advantage. The comeback was complete when Ellen Krueger and Ronni Munkeby were both in on a block to tie the score at 20-apiece. Kills from those two players helped finish off the rally and sent the crowd home buzzing about the wacky finish.
The fourth-set win came after UND had to sneak-out a tight 25-23 win in the third set to give North Dakota the upper hand. That set featured the Hornets rallying from a 20-14 score to re-tie it at 23-all. From there, Munkeby powered down one of her 15 kills and Felicia Ulrich tallied a service ace as UND led two sets to one.
The teams traded the first two sets. UND was victorious in the opener, 25-18. Coming out of a timeout, North Dakota went to sophomore Lexi Robinson, who finished one of her five kills in that set alone. UND held the visitors to just seven kills in the entire opening frame.
The second set was a different story as Sacramento State held North Dakota to just -.091 hitting to square the match heading into the locker room. UND was done in by miscues in that set, committing 14 attack errors.
The match turned when UND was able to close-out that pivotal third set and became historic with the fourth-set happenings. Robinson and Munkeby each had 15 kills to pace the North Dakota offense. Lauren Clarke dug-up a career-high 31 balls and Robinson added 13 digs for her eighth of the season.
UND (7-8, 3-2 Big Sky) now prepares for defending league champion Northern Colorado on Monday night at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. The match is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start and will be televised on Midco Sports Net with radio coverage on KKXL-AM 1440 and WDAY-AM 790.