FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.-- Host Northern Arizona hit .500 in the opening set en route to a 3-0 sweep of first-place North Dakota Saturday evening in Big Sky play. North Dakota had its 10-match winning streak snapped with the loss.
"Our serve receive had some breakdowns this evening and that's a lot to overcome against a good team," UND head coach Ashley Hardee said. "We continued to fight in sets two and three but we dug ourselves too big of a hole early in each of those sets."
UND (14-8, 9-1 Big Sky) ran into a buzzsaw in the first set as NAU (13-6, 7-3) outhit UND .500 to -.040 to ran away with a 25-12 victory. That momentum carried over into the second set with the Lumberjacks getting out to a quick seven-point lead at 14-7.
UND battled right back, however, to tie the set at 17-all but the 'Jacks answered with a 6-2 spurt for a 23-19 edge. UND again chipped away but fell just short as NAU was able to claim a 25-23 second set and a two sets to none advantage.
Coming out of the intermission, NAU brushed off an early 2-0 UND lead to stack up 10 straight points to take command. UND scored four straight after a timeout to force an NAU stoppage. The Lumberjacks, despite a valiant UND comeback that got the score within one at 23-22, were able to hold the visitors at bay and secure the league's first win over UND this season.
North Dakota was led by Ronni Munkeby's 16-kill effort while Anna Pioske and Emily Thompson each added seven kills. NAU collected seven service aces and had 12 total blocks in the win. North Dakota remains a full game ahead of the pack in the conference standings after Portland State's (8-2) win earlier in the day Saturday.
North Dakota returns home to host Montana Thursday and Montana State Saturday. Thursday's match is part of UND's "North Dakota Strong" campaign, which supports breast cancer awareness. The match will be televised live on Midco Sports Network.