FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.-- Sophomore Lexi Robinson (Ramsey, Minn.) tallied a season-high 21 kills, part of three North Dakota players with double-doubles but it was not enough as Northern Arizona survived for a 25-23, 25-27, 25-17, 21-25, 15-13 win in Big Sky Conference play Thursday night. UND (15-15, 10-9 Big Sky) got down 7-3 in the fifth set but scored eight straight points to take a lead before NAU finished the set with eight of the final 10 points to protect its home court.
"We did a real nice job defvensively against one of the better teams in the league," UND head coach Ashley Hardee said. "We still have to execute better, though, in the fifth set."
UND was down quickly in that fifth set but used solid defense to help string together an 8-0 run to grab an 11-7 advantage to put the hosts on their heels. The run started with a Felicia Ulrich kill to set things in motion. Ronni Munkeby then had her hand in on five different blocks and added a kill as UND wrestled away control.
Following a timeout, NAU finally got a sideout and re-gained control at 13-12. A Munkeby kill got things squared at 13-all but Janae Vander Ploeg had back-to-back kills for the Lumberjacks in the win.
NAU (23-5, 15-4) took the first set, 25-23, after being down for most of the first frame. UND jumped out to a 7-3 edge and led until NAU got the equalizer at 16-apiece. Four consecutive NAU points sealed the first set but North Dakota won the second set, 27-25, to even the match.
UND had three different set-point opportunities before finally seizing control with a Robinson kill and a Munkeby service ace as the teams headed to the locker room all-square. That set featured 16 ties and seven lead changes in a match that was truly a see-saw affair.
Neither team led by more than two points in the third set until the Lumberjacks pieced together a 7-3 spurt to grab a 20-15 advantage. Another 5-2 run followed as NAU re-took the lead in the match.
The fourth set had 11 tie scores and the lead changed hands four times until UND turned an 18-all tie into a 25-21 win to set the stage for the dramatic finish.
Ronni Munkeby finished the night with her first double-double of the season with 13 kills and 10 total blocks. Robinson had a double-double with 21 kills and 14 digs while Nikki Husfeldt also had a double-double with 50 assists and 11 digs.
UND will wrap up the regular season Saturday when it heads to Southern Utah. First serve is slated for 8:00 p.m. Central.
Notes: Munkeby's previous 10-block effort came on Nov. 1, 2010 at Southern Utah ... Robinson's career-high in kills is 23, set last season ... The match combined for 46 tie scores and had 24 lead changes in the five-set marathon ... Thursday marked the first time UND has had three players with double-doubles in a single match this season.