GRAND FORKS, N.D.—Senior Tamara Merseli had 14 kills and 10 digs to help host North Dakota past Idaho, 3-0, Thursday evening in Big Sky Conference play. UND has now won 16 straight home matches and hasn’t dropped a single set at home in 29 consecutive tries to improve to 18-2 overall, 3-0 in league play.
UND also got double-digit kill totals from senior Faith Dooley (12) and sophomore Ashley Brueggeman (10). Senior Sydney Griffin contributed 39 assists in the win.
"Getting a home win is nice. Getting it in three is really nice," UND head coach Mark Pryor said. "We won today in a very different way than we usually do. We out-slugged them on offense. I'm really pleased with our offensive numbers, but I'm genuinely concerned long term if we can't slow teams down. You can be a good team with one or the other. To be great, you better have both. We have the potential, but we that potential needs to come together sooner rather than later."
Idaho (7-7, 2-1) came in as the last team to even take a set from North Dakota at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. It was last season in a four-set UND win in the midst of North Dakota's 16 straight home wins. The Vandals seemed primed to at least garner a set as they were the benefactors of a 4-1 lead thanks to four UND attack errors in the very early going. With the score at 10-10, North Dakota embarked on a 9-1 run, including three consecutive Faith Dooley kills in that stretch. Idaho would inch back within two at 22-20, but and Ashley Brueggeman kill finished the frame and North Dakota had a set one victory, 25-22.
In the second, UND again used a long mid-set run to take command. Trailing 11-10, North Dakota ripped off seven straight points part of an 11-2 run that helped UND to a 25-18 set-two win.
The third set saw the Vandals get out to an 11-6 lead to only have it vanish thanks to a 10-5 span that re-knotted the score at 16-all. Merseli tallied three of her match-high 14 kills in the final seven points to record the sweep for North Dakota. The home team has won an incredible 29 straight sets at home.
"We did a good job of spreading the ball around today, and getting lots of kids involved," said Pryor. "Our blocking was passive, so we know we have to address that, and there were some routine digs we left on the floor. We will try to address those things tomorrow and get better."
North Dakota remains at home and will host Eastern Washington Saturday morning at 11:00 a.m.
Notes: Freshman Amelia Johnson set a new career high with six kills ... UND improves to 8-1 all-time against Idaho ... North Dakota is one of just three Big Sky Conference unbeatens remaining (Portland State, Sacramento State -- both of UND's road opponents next week) ... Merseli's nine double-doubles lead the team.