MISSOULA, Mont.-- North Dakota swept the season series with Montana, taking a convincing 25-17, 25-16, 25-23 win at West Auxiliary Gym Friday night in Big Sky Conference play.
"Nikki Husfeldt was great tonight," UND head coach Ashley Hardee said of his primary setter. "Her decision making was sharp and she spread the ball around well tonight. Montana has been playing well of late so this is a quality win on the road."
Husfeldt-- with a season-high 42 assists in a three-set match-- set-up four different UND players with at least nine kills. Junior Lisa Parlich led all players with 11 kills, needing just 16 swings (.562) as UND outhit the home team .316-.213. Three other UND players each totaled nine kills in a balanced attack: Lexi Robinson, Ronni Munkeby and Felicia Ulrich.
UND (11-11, 6-5 BSC) asserted itself as the aggressor early, hitting .438 in the opening set and tallying 18 kills in a 25-17 win. North Dakota had five different players with three kills or more in that first set in a preview for what would follow the rest of the night.
North Dakota never trailed in the second set and had the Grizzlies on the ropes quickly, winning the set, 25-16, to take a commanding two-sets-to-none lead. UND turned a 12-10 advantage into an 18-11 lead and ended the frame with five consecutive points.
The visitors jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead in the final set and looked ready to run away with it. Montana (5-15, 3-8) responded however, tying the score at 14-apiece. The Grizzlies took their first lead of the set at 16-15, but it would be short-lived when UND later scored four of five points during a stretch to gain a 23-19 edge. Kills from Ellen Krueger and Robinson were the final points helping UND earning a pair of straight-set wins over Montana this season.
UND travels to Montana State for a Saturday night affair with the Bobcats. North Dakota will be looking to avenge a five-set loss to MSU back in the Big Sky opener.
Notes: Husfeldt's assist total was a season high for her in a three-set match and tied for the third-best in her career in sweeps ... UND improves to 4-1 all-time against UM ... North Dakota-- winners of three of its last four-- will look to climb above the .500 mark for the first time since Sept. 1 (3-2).