North Dakota (6-8, 2-2 Big Sky) plays host to Sacramento State Saturday before a rare Monday tilt with defending conference champion Northern Colorado. UND is fresh off its first-ever road trip in Big Sky play, defeating Weber State in five sets before a four-set defeat to first-place Idaho State.
ON THE HORIZON
Following Monday’s tilt with Northern Colorado, UND hits the road for three straight away matches. North Dakota heads to Eastern Washington and Portland State next weekend before the showdown with in-state rival North Dakota State on Oct. 9 in the team’s non-conference finale.
SCOUTING THE HORNETS (5-8, 1-3 BSC)
Sacramento State lost four-set matches to Northern Arizona and Southern Utah last week ... The Hornets have dropped three straight and five of their last six ... Sac State easily leads the Big Sky with a 3.02 blocks per set average as a team ... The Hornets also have 77 service aces this season, most in the league (1.57/set) ... Jessie Genger tops the conference in service aces (0.50/set) and ranks eighth in kills (3.38/set).
SCOUTING THE BEARS (10-3, 3-1)
UNC, the preseason favorite in the Big Sky preseason poll, suffered its first conference loss of the season Friday at the hands of undefeated Idaho State ... The Bears are in the midst of a stretch that sees them play eight of 11 away from Greeley, Colo. ... NC will be home for seven straight matches down the stretch leading up to the final weekend of the season ... Tambre Haddock is tied for third in the conference with seven double-doubles ... Andrea Spaustat (.356) and Brianna Strong (.305) are second and fifth, respectively, in the conference in hitting percentage.
HUSFELDT MAKING HER PRESENCE FELT
Sophomore setter Nikki Husfeldt leads the Big Sky Conference (as of Sept. 24) in assists per set. Husfeldt has generated 11.27 helpers per set on average and has eight matches with 40 assists or more this season. She recorded a career-high 64 assists in the five-set win at Weber State last Thursday. Husfeldt ranks 28th in NCAA Division I in assists per set as of Monday.
Junior middle hitter Ronni Munkeby has registered double-digit kill totals in each of the last five matches. The streak started with a then-season-best dozen-kill performance at Ole Miss. Also included in the run is a 17-kill match at Weber State and a career-high 19 finishes against Montana State in the Big Sky opener. Munkeby is hitting .391 over the current five-match stretch.
Sophomore Lexi Robinson is tied for third in the Big Sky Conference with seven double-doubles this season. Fellow sophomore Husfeldt has four of her own, including a 64-assist, 11-dig effort at Weber State last Thursday.
EYEING THE STANDINGS
An early look at the Big Sky Conference shows a bunched-up group battling for the top six spots. The top six teams at the end of the regular season will converge on Greeley, Colo. on Nov. 23-24 on the campus of last season’s champions, Northern Colorado.
FIRST 100 GAMES IN OFFICE
Head coach Ashley Hardee coached his 100th match on Sept. 13 vs. Montana State. The fourth-year head man racked-up 77 wins in his first 100 matches, easily the most among UND coaches who have at least 100 matches under their belt. A look at where Hardee stacks up against other North Dakota coaches through their first 100 matches:
Ashley Hardee (2009-pres.) 77-23
Lisa Kissee (1986-1988) 46-54
Maria Bruggeman (1998-01) 42-58
Carol Cooke (1979-81) 31-69
UND ON TV
Monday’s contest with Northern Colorado is part of Midco Sports Network’s three-match television package for UND volleyball. Portland State rounds out the TV schedule on Nov. 8. Check MidcoSports.com for channel availability in your area.
UND ON THE RADIO
Follow the action Monday on the radio as well. Tune in to hear Paul Ralston’s call against the Bears on KKXL-AM 1440 and WDAY-AM 970.
UND ON THE INTERNET
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