UP NEXT FOR NORTH DAKOTA: The Fighting Sioux will play host to Houston Baptist at 2 p.m. for Great West Conference volleyball action at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center ... As the final regular season home match, the team will pay tribute to its five graduating seniors - Taylor Bohannon (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.), Corey Lof (Detroit Lakes, Minn.), Tia Russell (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), Annika Smed (Albert Lea, Minn.), and Devin Trefz (Bagley, Minn.
LIVE FROM GRAND FORKS: Links to live stats and a live audio/video webcast for both matches are available on FightingSioux.com, the official home of North Dakota athletics.
SERIES HISTORY ... HOUSTON BAPTIST
Overall: UND leads 5-1
Grand Forks: UND leads 2-0
Houston: UND leads 3-0
Neutral: HBU leads 1-0
SERIES OPENER: North Dakota opened the series against Houston Baptist with a 1-3 loss to the Huskies at the Bryant National Transitional Tournament in Smithfield, R.I., on Nov. 14, 2008.
LAST MEETING: Led by strong performances from senior outside hitter Annika Smed and redshirt freshman Nikki Husfeldt, the Fighting Sioux defeated Houston Baptist 3-1 (Oct. 13) in Houston ... North Dakota won the initial set by a hard-fought score of 30-28, but Houston Baptist quickly tied the match at 1-1 with a 25-18 win in set two. The Fighting Sioux took a 2-1 lead over the Huskies with a 25-20 victory in the third set ... In the fourth set, the Sioux worked their way to a 10-6 lead, but the Huskies fired back with four straight points to even things at 10-10. A 10-5 run put the UND up 20-15, but HBU didn't back down as the Huskies landed three straight points to cut the margin down to two. With a scatter of kills down the stretch, the Fighting Sioux won the set 25-21, and took a 3-1 match victory over the Huskies ... Smed, a native of Albert Lea, Minn., tallied her seventh double-double of the season, finishing with 13 kills and 18 digs ... A native of Andover, Minn., Husfeldt registered her fifth double-double of the season with a career-high 50 assists and 11 digs.
SCOUTING THE HUSKIES (17-7, 4-2 GWC): Picked to finish third in the 2011 Great West Conference Preseason Coaches Poll, Houston Baptist finished the 2010 season with a record of 17-13 overall and a 7-5 in the league to finish fourth ... The Huskies opened Great West play with three straight wins, defeating NJIT 3-1 (Sept. 29), Chicago State 3-1 (Oct. 1) and Texas-Pan American 3-0 (Oct. 8) ... Prior to the UTPA match, HBU played to a five-set victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Oct. 6) ... Your Fighting Sioux snapped the Huskies' four-match winning streak with a 3-1 win over HBU in Houston ... HBU rebounded with a big 3-1 win over Utah Valley (Oct. 15) and then took a four-set victory over Stephen F. Austin (Oct. 19) ... This past Thursday, UVU avenged an earlier conference loss with a 3-1 win over the Huskies ... Heather Leaverton leads the team with 243 kills (2.86/set), two-time Great West Conference Offensive Player of the Week Victoria Weatherly tops the squad with 823 assists (9.57/set) and Courtney Whittleman has dropped a team-leading 23 aces (0.27/set) ... Defensively, Jasmine Casey has collected 216 digs (2.81/set) and Jolie Graf has racked up 77 blocks, including 18 solo stops ... Houston Baptist is coached by Kaddie Platt, who is in her 16th season at the helm of the Huskies.
NOTING THE SIOUX (21-4, 7-1 GWC): Selected by the league's coaches to win the 2011 Great West Conference title, North Dakota finished the 2010 season 25-5 overall and 12-0 in the conference to win both the regular season and tournament title ... The Fighting Sioux bring a nine-match winning streak into Saturday's match ... Five of the nine wins came on the road, two were won against non-conference opponents, and during the span of 29 sets, the Sioux lost just two ... Heading into this week, senior outside hitter Devin Trefz leads the way with 232 kills (2.97/set) and 32 service aces (0.41/set) ... Redshirt freshman setter Nikki Husfeldt (Andover, Minn.) currently leads the team and the conference with 889 assists (10.58/set) ... Senior libero Taylor Bohannon (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) has racked up a team-high 333 digs (3.70/set), and senior middle blocker Tia Russell (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), who surpassed the 100-block mark on Thursday, leads the team with 103 stops (12 solo) ... North Dakota is coached by two-time Great West Conference Coach of the Year Ashley Hardee, who is in his third season.
RECORD REWIND: The University of North Dakota volleyball program holds a 573-688-3 (.453) record all-time since the first game was played on Sept. 22, 1976. Under head coach Ashley Hardee, UND is 68-15 (.819).
PROTECT AND SERVE: All-time, the Fighting Sioux are 195-183 (.516) when it comes to defending their own court ... The Sioux are just five wins away from their 200th home victory.
LET'S GET BETTY TO RUMBLE: North Dakota is 59-29 (.670) all-time at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center, which opened prior to the 2004 season. Under head coach Ashley Hardee, UND is 27-2 (.931).
HEADING TOWARDS A THREE-PEAT: With just two Great West Conference matches left to play, it is crucial for the Fighting Sioux to pick up a win against Houston Baptist ... The Sioux currently sit at the top of the leader board alongside Utah Valley with a 7-1 conference record ... Utah Valley will play Texas-Pan American on Saturday and then after a week off of league action, UND and UVU will face each other in the season finale in Orem, Utah.
CAN I GET YOUR ATTENDANCE PLEASE: In the Oct. 25 release by the NCAA, the University of North Dakota ranked 59th nationally among 327 active Division I volleyball teams in home attendance with an average of 852 fans (10 matches) ... No other Great West Conference team is listed in the top 75 ... North Dakota State is ranked 47th averaging 1,027 fans.
ON A NATIONAL SCALE: Due to North Dakota's transitional status, the Fighting Sioux are not included in the NCAA Division I national rankings. However, if they were, the Sioux would have a few things to brag about ... According to the Oct. 25 release by the NCAA:
UND would be ranked No. 14 with an average of 2.79 blocks per set.
UND would be ranked 18th with a .833 winning percentage.
UND would be ranked No. 33 with an average of 1.55 aces per set.
Senior outside hitter Devin Trefz would be ranked No. 48 with an average of 0.41 aces per set.
Click the PDF link above to view the complete game notes release ...
- Go Sioux -