CHENEY, Wash.-- North Dakota secured its 20th win of the season with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-18) win at Eastern Washington Saturday in Big Sky Conference play. UND remained tied atop the league standings with one week to play in the regular season.
"A nice night for Lexi Robinson out there and it's good to see her getting back into a rhythm," said UND head coach Ashley Hardee of his junior who returned this week from injury. "McKenzie Hart was also fantastic tonight defensively and serving."
UND (20-10, 15-3 Big Sky) outhit EWU .257 to .109 en route to the sweep, North Dakota's 11th three-set win of the season. Munkeby came on strong in the latter stages of the match, collecting 11 of her match-high kill total (13) in the second and third sets combined.
After a 25-17 victory in the first set behind five kills from freshman Anna Pioske, UND leaned on its senior co-captains in the second frame. Munkeby finished seven balls on just 12 swings and Lisa Parlich recorded four kills on six attacks in that second set as North Dakota eventually pulled away for a 25-21 win and a 2-0 lead in the match.
That second set was much closer than the first as UND ran out to a 10-3 lead in the first and never looked back but had to rally from a 7-1 hole in the second. It was Munkeby's kill that stopped the EWU run at the top of the second set. UND still trailed 16-10 when another kill from Munkeby sparked a 15-5 run to finish off the set for a 25-21 UND victory.
In the final set, it was an 11-4 UND stretch that proved to be the difference. North Dakota turned a 4-3 deficit into a 14-8 advantage that it never relinquished.
Munkeby's kill total led all players while Parlich finished with 10 kills and Robinson and Pioske each contributed nine kills in the win. Hart had a team-high 12 digs to go along with a pair of service aces.
North Dakota wraps up its regular season next week when it hosts Northern Arizona Thursday and Southern Utah Saturday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. Thursday's match will be televised live on Midco Sports Network at 7:00 p.m. Central.
Notes: UND notched its 13th-ever 20-win season ... Four of those have come under coach Hardee (five seasons), most of any UND coach ... Sophomore Lauren Clarke tallied 10 digs to bring her career total to 997 .. Just 14 players in UND history have surpassed 1,000 digs, none have done it before their junior season ... Senior Ronni Munkeby recorded five total blocks to push her career total over 400 and into fifth place in the UND record books ... Lisa Parlich is at 389 blocks, moving past Laura Birk (385) and Tami Wills (388) for sixth place in total blocks ... Portland State (15-3) and Northern Arizona (13-5) each won Saturday as four teams are still mathematically alive to clinch at least a share of the Big Sky Conference regular season title heading into the final week: Idaho State (13-5).