PORTLAND, Ore.-- Third-seeded Idaho State won a pair of matches Friday, including a 3-1 victory over second-seeded North Dakota to advance to the Big Sky Conference Volleyball Tournament championship match. The Bengals ousted six-seed and defending tourney champion Northern Colorado in the morning quarterfinal session and dispatched UND in the semis.
Senior Ronni Munkeby (Lisbon, N.D.) was outstanding in her final collegiate match, killing a season-high-tying 19 balls on 36 swings with six errors to hit .361 for the night. Fellow senior co-captain Lisa Parlich (Delavan, Wis.) added nine kills and six blocks for North Dakota. Freshman Anna Pioske (Waconia, Minn.) chipped in 11 kills and 17 digs while setter Nikki Husfeldt (Andover, Minn.) added 48 assists and 12 digs and sophomore Lauren Clarke (Naperville, Ill.) recorded 32 digs in the loss.
North Dakota took a 20-19 lead in the first set, a frame that saw both teams battle it out neck-and-neck. Neither squad held a lead of more than two points until late in the set and with UND holding a one-point edge, the Bengals used solid service to close out the first set victory, 25-20. ISU (22-11) got a kill from Tressa Lyman then three straight aces to take the early lead in the match.
In the second set, it was all North Dakota early as UND turned a 4-4 score into a quick 17-9 lead. Four of those points came on UND blocks as North Dakota churned out five total blocks in the set. The Bengals chipped away at the deficit and eventually tied the score at 22-apiece. Munkeby tallied a pair of kills to give North Dakota a chance to serve with set point, but the Bengals escaped with a 26-24 win to head to intermission with a 2-0 lead in the match.
It was UND's turn to pull out some late set heroics in the third set, rallying from down 23-20 to score the final five points for a 25-23 win. Idaho State held the lead for the bulk of that set but a block from Munkeby and Lexi Robinson tied the score at 19-all and forced Idaho State's final timeout. From there, the Bengals went on a quick 4-1 run, however, Munkeby registered three kills over the final five points to send the match to a fourth set.
In that final frame, ISU took a 5-1 lead and never looked back to advance on to the championship match set for Saturday at 7:00 p.m. Pacific.
Four different ISU players tallied double-digit kills led by 13 from Makenzie Filer.
UND finishes with a 22-11 overall record. Idaho State will play the winner of Friday's late semifinal between host Portland State and fifth-seeded Montana.
Notes: Munkeby tallied 1,111 kills in her career, sitting 12th in the UND all-time record book .. Parlich finished with 983 career kills ... Husfeldt finished her junior campaign with 3,990 assists in her career, third-most at UND.