NEW ORLEANS, La.-- Spring-boarded by a crazy six straight points at the end of the first set, North Dakota handed host Tulane its first defeat of the season, 3-1 (26-24, 20-25, 25-21, 25-20) en route to the Allstate Sugar Bowl Collegiate Classic Tournament title Saturday. UND faced four straight set points by the Green Wave in that opening frame but came out victorious and went a perfect 3-0 at the tournament.
"Ronni Munkeby was spectacular today when we needed her and Lisa Parlich was all weekend," UND head coach Ashley Hardee said. "We played very good defense behind our block and beat a good Tulane team on its home court. The momentum from this tournament should serve us well heading into a rivalry match Monday (at South Dakota) and into the Big Sky Conference schedule next weekend."
Munkeby helped UND garner an early 9-7 lead in that first set on the strength of three kills. But, it would be her work at the end of this set, though, that pulled North Dakota to a crazy 26-24 win.
Following that 9-7 score, Tulane scored six straight points and wrestled away control. The Green Wave maintained their lead and looked poised to close it out with a 24-20 advantage after a pair of Annie Shurtz kills. Munkeby then tallied four kills and was in on a block to help UND score six unanswered points for an incredible 26-24 first-set victory.
Munkeby finished the first set with eight kills and continued to power the UND attack, finishing the afternoon with a match-high 18 kills. Junior Lexi Robinson had 17 kills to go along with eight digs and five total blocks.
Tulane (10-1) claimed a 25-21 second-set win to even the match, but North Dakota was equal to the challenge. The visitors emerged from a third set that saw 12 tie scores and five lead changes as UND took the set, 25-21 and reclaimed the advantage in the match.
North Dakota closed out the win with a 25-20 win in the final set to earn the tournament crown. Junior setter Nikki Husfeldt earned Most Valuable Player honors for the tourney, thanks in part to her 36 assists and 13 digs Saturday. Senior Lisa Parlich was also named to the six-person all-tournament team after a weekend that saw her collect 45 kills against just four errors to hit .577 for the three matches combined.
North Dakota heads to Vermillion, S.D. Monday for the final match before the Big Sky Conference season. UND battles rival South Dakota in a 7:00 p.m. match.
Allstate Sugar Bowl Collegiate Classic All-Tournament Team
Nikki Husfeldt (MVP)