GRAND FORKS, N.D.-- Senior Ronni Munkeby became the 15th player in University of North Dakota program history to notch 1,000 career kills in Saturday's 3-0 (25-13, 25-21, 25-21) win over Montana State at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. Although its co-captain's achievement headlined today's match, UND's team defense was the story in the convincing win.
Munkeby tallied kill 1,000 on a signature finish from the middle that blistered down the center of the court untouched and brought the home crowd to its feet in the early stages of the third set. Also true to form, she was in on four total blocks on the afternoon as North Dakota racked up 10 blocks and kept MSU to just .043 hitting for the match.
In the first set, the UND (16-8, 11-1 Big Sky) defense shown brightly. MSU (5-18, 3-9) couldn't get comfortable with UND's blocking prowess. North Dakota recorded five blocks in that set alone and allowed just four Bobcat kills to hold the visitors to a -.226 hitting percentage.
Conversely, UND hit at a .214 clip and had just four attacks errors combined in the first frame. In fact, UND only trailed 2-1 in each of the first two sets and never again after that. The first set ended, 25-13, and UND looked in complete control.
The second set saw North Dakota build a commanding 20-11 advantage, but an 11-4 run by the Bobcats made things interesting. MSU fought off three different set-points before freshman Anna Pioske finally ended the threat with one of her match-high 15 kills for a 25-21 victory.
With the score 9-8 UND in the third set, Munkeby hammered home a perfect short set from Nikki Husfeldt in the middle for her career milestone. From there, UND built a 16-11 edge with the final point in that stretch coming on a Pioske ace, who showcased a solid all-around game with her 15 kills on 34 swings with four errors and six digs.
Pioske-- as she did in the second set-- would end the match with a cross-court kill from the left side that sealed a 25-21 win and a sweep of the Bobcats to remain two games in front of the pack in the Big Sky standings.
Husfeldt handed out 30 helpers in the win while Parlich had nine kills and four total blocks. Munkeby finished with seven kills while Emily Asche chipped-in five kills.
Kennadie Clute produced 12 kills for the Bobcats.
North Dakota takes to the road to battle Idaho State and Weber State on Friday and Saturday night, respectively.
Notes: Senior Lisa Parlich is at 879 career kills. Only twice in program history have there been two 1,000-kill players on the same team (2003- Emily Tuve, Heather Hanson & 2011- Devin Trefz, Annika Smed) ... Pioske has recorded 15 kills or more five different times this season ... UND is 4-1 in those instances.