GRAND FORKS, N.D.-- Defending Big Sky Conference champion Northern Colorado escaped with a five-set win (25-17, 18-25, 25-22, 19-25, 15-10) at North Dakota Monday night at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.
Monday was set-up for the home team to pull another comeback but this one would run out of time. Trailing two sets to one, UND won the fourth set, 25-19, and was primed to rally for another thrilling win after Saturday's epic comeback.
The Bears (12-3, 5-1 Big Sky) squashed the notion, however, turning a six-all tie in the fifth set into an 11-6 lead and an eventual 15-10 win to secure the match. Three NC blocks in that five-point run helped the visitors grab the key road win.
NC used an 8-2 run midway through the first set to garner a 25-17 victory. But, North Dakota had the equalizer in set two, winning 25-18 in a battle of Big Sky heavyweights.
The Bears led 7-3 in the third set and had to fend off a late rally for a slim 25-22 win to take the upper hand. Again, UND was unfazed by a deficit and led virtually wire-to-wire in the fourth set to force the decider.
There, a pair of kills by Lisa Parlich and a block by her and Lexi Robinson gave UND a 5-3 advantage early. NC scored five points via block over the next eight points and the Bears never looked back.
Robinson had a match-high 18 kills for North Dakota while junior Ronni Munkeby tallied her seventh straight match with double digit kills (14). Robinson added 12 digs to generate her ninth double-double of the season, second-most in the Big Sky.
Reigning league Player of the Year Kelley Arnold led the Bears with a dozen kills. Brianna Strong chipped-in 10 kills, Andrea Spaustat had nine and both Marissa Hughes and Tambre Haddock added eight for a balanced Northern Colorado attack.
UND (7-9, 3-3) heads west to battle Eastern Washington and Portland State this Thursday and Saturday, respectively.