CHENEY, Wash.-- North Dakota dominated host Eastern Washington to the tune of a tidy 25-13, 25-16, 25-12 sweep Thursday evening in Big Sky Conference play.
It's November, which means that the UND volleyball machine continues to hum along as it heads down the stretch towards the Big Sky Conference Tournament. With Thursday's win, North Dakota is now 14-0 in November regular season matches under head coach Mark Pryor.
Senior Faith Dooley shook off her lowest kill total in a match (3 Monday at Iowa State) by posting 11 kills on just 18 attempts without an error as the Fighting Hawks hit an impressive .339 as a team in the win.
Three UND players charted double-digit kill totals with Dooley and Tamara Merseli each chipping in 11 and Jordan Vail tallying a match-high dozen.
"Our only goal was to win the serve and pass game tonight. If we are able to do those things, the game slows down," Pryor said. "We had a chance to get back to our offensive identity of playing clean. We controlled our hitting errors and it allowed us to control the match.
"Saturday, we have a big match coming up, both literally and figuratively. Idaho is the biggest team in the league. We are going to have to battle for every point if we want to be successful. A consistent competitive mindset will be of the utmost importance Saturday."
North Dakota only trailed two times the entire match, both coming on 1-0 starts to sets. After EWU got the first point of the match, UND rattled off seven consecutive to force a timeout. The Fighting Hawks would win in convincing fashion in that first set, 25-13, hitting .368 in that stanza.
Set two started with a 4-0 UND start and the Hawks never looked back, winning, 25-16. The final frame was a 1-0 start for Eastern Washington (6-16, 3-10) but 11 of the next 15 points were scored for North Dakota and then the Fighting Hawks buried the match with seven straight points to end the frame and wrap up the win in just a little over an hour.
North Dakota remains on the road and will head to Moscow, Idaho to battle the Vandals of the University of Idaho. First serve is set for 9:00 p.m. Saturday evening.
Notes: UND recorded single digits for team attack errors for the 22nd time in Pryor's tenure, fifth time this season ... Dooley had three total blocks to move into second place in the Big Sky record book in that category (638) ... She is just 19 shy of the league's all-time mark (Weber State's Brittney Bisaillon, 2005-08) ... North Dakota now has 51 wins over the past two seasons, tying the most in any back-to-back years in school history ... The Fighting Hawks are one win shy of tying the school record for wins they tied last season (26).