GRAND FORKS, N.D.-- Northern Arizona improved to 8-2 in Big Sky Conference play to remain just one game back of first place after a 25-21, 25-22, 25-19 win over host North Dakota Saturday evening at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. The Lumberjacks outhit UND .246 to .140 en route to the win.
UND's loss snapped a modest two-match win streak that began with a spirited sweep at in-state rival North Dakota State Tuesday. North Dakota fell to 5-5 in conference play, one game ahead of Southern Utah for the sixth spot in the league standings.
Despite the final set score, the match was tightly contested throughout. The first set alone featured 12 tie scores and five lead changes. In fact, neither team held a lead larger than two points in the opening frame until NAU scored five of the final six points to close-out the set with a 25-21 victory.
In the second set, UND (10-11, 5-5 Big Sky) enjoyed a five-point lead early, forcing a timeout at 11-6. NAU (16-3, 8-2) quickly regrouped to go on a run to eventually take its first lead in the second set at 18-17. UND re-tied the score five more times before the end of the set and finally re-took a 22-21 advantage but NAU again closed out the set with four consecutive points for a 25-22 win and a two-sets-to-none lead.
The Lumberjacks took control of the third set and the match after a 7-7 tie turned into a three-point lead and they would not look back to remain just one game in back of first place in the conference.
Sophomore Lexi Robinson led UND with 14 kills and 14 digs for her 13th double-double of the season while junior Ronni Munkeby added 10 kills on 24 swings. Lisa Parlich added nine finishes while Lauren Clarke and McKenzie Hart had 12 and 11 digs, respectively.
NAU had five players with six or more kills, led by Payton Bock's nine. Jen Wilson recorded seven kills on just eight swings for an effective offense that had just 13 attack errors for the entire match.
UND travels to Montana next weekend to battle University of Montana and Montana State on Friday and Saturday, respectively.