FARGO, N.D.-- North Dakota etched its first win in Fargo in 36 years with a 3-0 sweep over host North Dakota State in front of 1,413 fans at the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse Tuesday night in non-conference volleyball action. UND now owns back-to-back wins in the series.
UND used quick starts in the first two sets and a comeback rally in the decider to give North Dakota just its sixth overall win in 75 matches in the series since 1976. The historic night came in front of the ninth-largest crowd ever to attend a Bison volleyball match at the Fieldhouse.
It was the start that UND (9-10 overall) wanted to help silence a usually bonkers Bison crowd. Following the first point by the Bison, North Dakota rattled-off seven straight points and forced an early NDSU (7-12 overall) timeout. With the score 17-10 in favor of the visitors, a prolonged rally was finally finished by the Bison. But, NDSU couldn't take advantage of the temporary momentum swing and UND stretched its lead to eight at 22-14 to prompt another Bison stoppage. Four straight NDSU points got it within four but Nikki Husfeldt dumped over her second kill of the set and later Felicia Ulrich finished the set for a 25-19 UND victory.
UND cooked up the same recipe in the second set, scoring the first four points en route to a 5-1 lead. NDSU eventually re-tied the score at 10-apiece before taking a 16-12 advantage, its largest of the night to that point. Ellen Krueger was key in that second set, notching five kills in that frame alone as North Dakota got it back to 17-17. Later, UND was the beneficiary of a pair of Bison errors to knot the score at 21-21 then Ulrich powered down a kill in the midst of a set-ending 6-0 run for the Green and White.
It was NDSU's turn to take an early lead in the third set, jumping out to a 7-1 advantage. UND quickly rallied to make it 11-all behind the service of freshman Lauren Clarke. UND generated a 9-2 run in a set that would see seven tie scores. With NDSU leading 18-16, the Kelly Green got kills from Ulrich and Lisa Parlich on consecutive plays and Clarke served up her second ace of the set and UND found itself in front, 20-18, and closing in on a big sweep.
A kill by Ronni Munkeby followed by a Krueger finish and a Husfeldt ace put UND on top, 23-19. The Bison would score the next two points to prompt a timeout by UND head coach Ashley Hardee. Munkeby again squashed any momentum NDSU might have gained and Lexi Robinson put the exclamation point on the win with one of her match-high 13 kills to end it .
Robinson was part of three UND players with double-digit kill totals as Krueger and Ulrich each added 10 for the victors. Robinson added 10 digs for her 11th double-double of the season and Clarke etched 22 big digs for the UND defense. Husfeldt tallied 42 assists in the win.
UND returns to Big Sky Conference play this weekend, hosting a pair of key matches at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. North Dakota entertains Southern Utah Thursday in a match that features two teams currently tied for the sixth place in the Big Sky, the final qualifying spot for the postseason tournament. UND then hosts third-place Northern Arizona Saturday for Homecoming. Both matches begin at 7:00 p.m.