North Dakota (9-10, 4-4 Big Sky) prepares for a huge weekend, hosting a pair of Big Sky opponents jockeying for position as the conference season reaches the midway point. UND will carry loads of momentum into this weekend thanks to an impressive 3-0 sweep at North Dakota State Tuesday.
UND hosts Southern Utah Thursday and Northern Arizona Saturday. The match with the Lumberjacks is part of homecoming festivities on campus and is the final athletic event in a jam-packed day in Grand Forks that will see home events in cross country, volleyball, football, men's hockey and soccer (Fri/Sun).
SCOUTING THE THUNDERBIRDS (8-11, 4-4 Big Sky)
SUU is also in its first season in the Big Sky Conference, coming over from the Summit League ... Analaine Mailoto is the team's top producer offensively, tallying 4.09 kills per set, second-best in the league ... UND and SUU are currently tied for the crucial sixth place in the Big Sky standings (top six teams qualify for the conference tournament) ... UND has won both previous match-ups between the schools, both coming in the 2010 season.
SCOUTING THE LUMBERJACKS (14-3, 6-2)
NAU comes into the weekend tied for third place in the conference standings ... NAU boasts three different players in the top 10 in the conference in hitting percentage, led by the Big Sky's leading mark of .364 by Sydney Kemper ... The Lumberjacks allow the lowest hitting percentage in the conference by its opponents (.163) ... Saturday will mark the first-ever meeting between the schools.
NEW MEXICO CONNECTIONS
Both head coaches in Thursday's tilt with Southern Utah served as assistants at New Mexico State prior to their current head coaching positions. Debby Baker and Ashley Hardee were both on staff at NMSU together from 2002-07.
Sophomore Lexi Robinson recorded her 11th double-doubles this season in the win at North Dakota State Tuesday. She's generated at least 10 kills in 13 of the last 14 matches and has reached a season-high 18 finishes on two different occasions (vs. Rice, vs. Northern Colorado).
IT'S BEEN AWHILE
The Oct. 9 win at North Dakota State was UND's first in Fargo since 1976. UND has now won back-to-back games in the series-- one that NDSU dominates. The Bison have a 69-6 record over UND since that 1976 match. Ashley Hardee becomes the first UND coach to defeat NDSU more than once since Polly West did so twice in that 1976 campaign.
UND ON TV
Midco Sports Network will televise three UND volleyball games as part of its broadcast deal that includes football, men's hockey, women's hockey, men's basketball and women's basketball. The first televised volleyball game comes on Sept. 13 when UND hosts new Big Sky foe Montana State. BSC defending champion Northern Colorado visits BESC on Oct. 1 and Portland State rounds out the TV schedule on Nov. 8. Check MidcoSports.com for channel availability in your area.
BIG SKY TV
All UND home matches and every Big Sky road match will be available via free video webcast through Big Sky TV. Go to UNDSports.com for more details.
UND ON THE INTERNET
UNDSports.com is the official online home of University of North Dakota athletics. UNDSports.com is a veritable one-stop shop for the most hard-core UND fan, featuring breaking news, feature stories, game notes, live and archived video webcasts, FREE audio, FREE live stats, podcasts, blogs, player profiles, merchandise, photo galleries, news feeds, camp registration and much, much more.