UND rallies for five-set win at Northern Colorado
Courtesy: Mitch Wigness, UND Media Relations
"We didn't do much in the first two sets to make them uncomfortable and give credit to UNC for that," UND head coach Ashley Hardee said. "We passed a lot better in serve receive after that and we were in a rhythm offensively."
UND (11-7, 6-0 Big Sky) trailed 7-6 in the opening set before a 6-1 spurt by UNC put the home team out in front by six and the Bears never relinquished a margin of five points the rest of the set. The first frame saw UNC (5-11, 1-5) outhit North Dakota .406 to .094.
In the second set, the Bears held UND to a .000 hitting percentage while hitting .481 themselves to take a two sets to none lead into intermission. The duo of Andrea Spaustat and Brianna Strong combined for 19 kills on just 25 attempts with two errors through the first two sets as UNC looked in command of the match.
Coming out of the break, UND fired on all cylinders, running off the first six points and taking a 10-3 advantage en route to a 25-19 win. North Dakota turned the tables in that set, hitting .348 and forcing UNC into 11 attack errors.
The fourth set was a 25-22 win for UND as the visitors hit .425 in that frame and knotted the match at two sets apiece to send the match to a deciding fifth set. It marked the third straight regular season match between these schools to go the full five sets.
In that final set, UND went up 3-0 quickly but the Bears responded with a 7-1 run to seize control. That three-point edge remained at 12-9 and that's when North Dakota put the match away with six straight points on the service of freshman Candice Yager. Emily Thompson had a block and a kill in the run and Ronni Munkeby finished off the final two points for the incredible win.
Freshman Anna Pioske led UND with a career-high-tying 16 kills with Munkeby adding 15 and Lisa Parlich contributing 14 in the five-set win. Pioske also added 10 digs for her third double-double. Nikki Husfeldt also had a double-double with 50 assists and 11 digs.
North Dakota returns home for homecoming week, hosting Eastern Washington on Thursday and Portland State on Saturday.