GREEN BAY, Wis.-- North Dakota remained perfect in five-set matches, outlasting IUPUI, 3-2, Saturday afternoon in the finale of the Green Bay Country Inn and Suites Invitational. UND got career bests from a number of players, including 18 kills from Faith Dooley and 17 more from Ashley Brueggeman in the final tuneup before the start of the Big Sky Conference season.
The match went back and forth with North Dakota (15-2) having to fend off the Jaguars throughout. After every UND set win, IUPUI would answer with one of its own to push the match to a deciding fifth set. Once there, North Dakota had 12 kills without a single attack error to race to a 15-8 victory in the set and settle on its fourth five-set win of the season.
"Winning is like pizza... even when it's bad, it's still pretty good," said UND head coach Mark Pryor. "Today was a real gut check for us. It was a quick turnaround from last night, and yesterday was an emotional roller coaster for this group.
"When it was time to finish, they did. Twelve kills and zero errors in a deciding set five says a lot about how our team can play."
Senior Faith Dooley tied a career high with 18 kills to pace the Fighting Hawks' offensive attack. Sophomore Ashley Brueggeman (17 kills) and true freshman Lydia Rutten (8 kills) each notched new personal bests as well while senior Teodora Tepavac recorded a career-high 22 digs in the win. Sydney Griffin posted 60 assists for UND.
Tamara Merseli set the tone early, killing a half-dozen balls in the opening set alone to stake UND to an early 1-0 lead after a 25-18 set-one win. North Dakota would hit .406 in the next set, but the Jaguars (4-9) hit at a .621 clip with 18 kills and no attack errors to take a 25-19 win to level the match.
UND answered by holding the Jags to an .094 hit percentage in the third set to claim a 25-20 victory and regain the advantage in the match. Once again, IUPUI responded with a grueling 27-25 win in the fourth, a set that saw and incredible 19 tie scores and five lead changes.
But once it reached the fifth set, UND put the match out of reach. North Dakota hit a staggering .522 in that final frame and ripped off eight of the first nine points to ascert dominance. Ashley Breuggeman finished the match with kills on each of UND's final three points with a 15-8 victory and an impressive 15-2 non-conference record thus far this season.
"We are 15-2 (overall), but Monday morning, we are back to 0-0. Big Sky starts, and not one team in our league cares about our record. They are all gunning for us. We have to be ready."
North Dakota plays six of its first eight conference matches on the road beginning next week. UND opens at Southern Utah Thursday then heads to Northern Colorado Saturday.