GRAND FORKS, N.D.-- In front of its largest-ever crowd (2,688), host University of North Dakota took its third straight win in the all-time series against arch-rival North Dakota State with a 25-19, 25-16, 25-15 win Monday night at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. UND hit an unbelievable .500 on the night with just five errors for the match.
UND never trailed in the match at any point. Strong starts in all three sets, fueled by a raucous crowd, propelled the home team in front each time.
North Dakota came out firing with both Lisa Parlich and Ronni Munkeby each finishing their first three attacks with kills and UND was hitting .520 at the first media timeout of the match. That good start generated a 15-12 lead. UND continued to ride that momentum for four straight points coming out of that stoppage, gaining control of the set.
NDSU rallied to close the score to 23-19, but a Lexi Robinson kill and another by Anna Pioske put the set away, 25-19. UND hit .415 in the first frame with Munkeby and Parlich combining to finish nine balls on just 10 swings.
UND stormed out to a 7-1 lead in the next set and didn't let off the gas, piling up a 17-8 advantage before winning, 25-16. North Dakota killed 20 balls in that frame on just 33 attempts and only error for an unreal .576 hitting percentage in that set alone.
Another quick start had NDSU scrambling and burning both timeouts early with a 13-5 UND margin. It did little to slow down UND's offensive juggernaut with the home team not committing a single attack error in that set. Robinson powered down her eighth kill of the night for a 14-5 lead and UND closed out the match, 25-15, in a tidy hour and 18 minutes.
The .500 hitting percentage was easily its best of the season and first time over .400 in a match since last season's .455 vs. Alabama A&M.
Pioske ended the match with a match-high 15 kills on 24 attempts with three errors to go along with four digs. The Waconia, Minn., native was just one shy of her career high in kills. Munkeby added 13 kills without an error and was in on two blocks while Robinson finished with 10 kills and five digs. Parlich had eight kills on just 11 swings without an error and Nikki Husfeldt generated 44 assists in the win.
UND returns to Big Sky Conference play this weekend, heading to Sacramento State Saturday and Northern Colorado next Monday.
Notes: UND now leads the series with NDSU, 3-1 in the Division I era ... The all-time series is 69-7 in favor of the Bison since 1976 ... The announced crowd of 2,688 was the largest to ever see a volleyball match in the state of North Dakota, any level ... Jasmine Robinson and Jessica Fontes each made thier season debuts Monday for UND ... Robinson recorded a service ace in her first point on the court ... 15 different players got into the match for North Dakota ... UND's highest recorded attack percentage as a team was .534 in a 10/11/91 win over South Dakota (38k-7e-58a).