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North Dakota is the two-seed in the upcoming Big Sky Conference Tournament.
Regular season co-champs aiming for NCAA bid
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Updated: Saturday 11/27/2013 22:30:53 (ET)
by Mitch Wigness, UND Media Relations
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Big Sky Conference Tournament
Semifinals
#2 North Dakota vs. #3 Idaho State/#6 Northern Colorado

Friday, Nov. 29 -- 7:00 p.m. Central
KKXL 1440-AM
WatchBigSky.com

Championship
Saturday, Nov. 30 -- 9:00 p.m. Central
KKXL 1440-AM
WatchBigSky.com


ON TAP

North Dakota, the Big Sky Conference’s regular season co-champ, enters the league tournament as the No. 2 seed and is seeking to secure its first-ever trip to the NCAA Division I Tournament. Winner of the league tourney qualifies for the automatic bid into the 64-team tourney.

QUICK SETS
*UND has 13 all-time seasons with 20 or more wins, a record four of those under coach Ashley Hardee.
*UND’s 17 conference wins this season are the most in school history.
*North Dakota has 13 wins via sweep this year, including each of its last three matches.
*Eight of UND’s last 11 wins have come via sweep.
*UND is 21-4 following a 1-6 start to the season.
*North Dakota won a pair of Great West regular season titles (2009, 2010) and three league tournament titles (2009, 2010, 2011).

SCOUTING NORTH DAKOTA
North Dakota is 0-1 all-time in the Big Sky Conference Tournament, falling 3-0 to eventual champion and host Northern Colorado last season ... UND is 7-3 combined against the field of this season’s tournament ... North Dakota had three Big Sky Player of the Week honorees this season (Ronni Munkeby- 2, Anna Pioske) ... UND leads the Big Sky Conference is hitting percentage (.250), kills per set (13.78) and blocks per set (2.65) ... North Dakota’s Lisa Parlich sets the pace in the league in hitting (.371) and Nikki Husfeldt is the conference leader in assists (10.94/set).

TOURNEY TIDBITS
*Portland State is the host after winning the regular season championship in 2012.
*Next season’s format will see the host school coming from that season’s top seed.
*Five of the six tournament teams are the same as last year, Montana is the lone new school into the mix this season.
*North Dakota has seven more wins in conference this season, largest improvement among any league school from last year. UND is +7 from 2012 while Montana improved +6 matches. Portland State (0) is the only other tourney team that didn’t lose more matches this year than last (Idaho State & Northern Arizona -2, Northern Colorado -4).
*Two potential UND opponents-- Northern Colorado (3) and Portland State (2)-- have combined to win every league tournament since 2008.

YA DIG?
Sophomore libero Lauren Clarke (Naperville, Ill.) went over 1,000 digs in her career in a Nov. 21 win over Northern Arizona. Clarke already has 1,017 digs in her two seasons at UND and is just the 15th player to surpass 1,000 digs in a North Dakota uniform-- the first to do so as a sophomore. Check out the PDF release for a look the dig leaders through their sophomore seasons.

ROARING 20s
UND head coach Ashley Hardee has ushered UND to another 20-win campaign, the 13th 20-win season all-time at North Dakota. Hardee has four in his five seasons at the helm, more than any other coach in program history.:

20-win seasons
Ashley Hardee (4 in 5 seasons)
Lisa Kissee (3 in 7 seasons)
Carol Cooke (2 in 7 seasons)
Maria Bruggeman (2 in 8 seasons)
Kari Peterson (2 in 2 seasons)

HUSFELDT’S HELPERS
Junior Nikki Husfeldt recorded a new career high with 65 assists in the five-set win at Idaho State Nov. 1. She followed up with 47 assists the next night to push her over 1,000 for the season.

GRAND PLAYERS
Senior Ronni Munkeby (Lisbon, N.D./Lisbon) is moving up the career kill leaders chart at UND, moving into 13th place last week. She is just 45 kills shy of cracking the top 10. Fellow senior Lisa Parlich (Delavan, Wis.) remains just 26 kills away from becoming the 16th member of the 1,000-kill club at UND.

Career kill leaders at UND
1. Karla Danielson    1,732
10. Britta Hanson    1,141
11. Kristi Rasmussen    1,137
12. Ronni Munkeby    1,092
13. Jody Paperno    1,085
14. Renee Larson    1,039
15. Aileen Cahill    1,022
--  Lisa Parlich    974

YOU BETTY RECOGNIZE
North Dakota is 78-37 all-time at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center, which opened prior to the 2004 season.  Since 2008, UND is a staggering 56-11 (.836) including a school-record 13 wins in 2011.

EIGHT IS ENOUGH?
UND teams know plenty about running together long conference winning streaks in head coach Ashley Hardee’s tenure. Its most recent nine-match league winning streak is the fourth stretch of eight matches or more in a single season.

YEAR    CONFERENCE    STREAK
2010    Great West    *12
2009    Great West    *9
2013    Big Sky    9
2011    Great West    8
*These streaks ran concurrent for 21-straight league wins.

RECORD REWIND
The University of North Dakota volleyball program holds a 615-718-3 (.461) record all-time since the first game was played on Sept. 22, 1976. Under head coach Ashley Hardee, UND is 110-43 (.719).

APPROACHING MILESTONES
*Lisa Parlich sits at 974 kills entering the weekend.
*If Parlich reaches the mark, her and Ronni Munkeby (1,085)  would be just the third UND teammates to have 1,000 kills in the same season (2003- Emily Tuve, Heather Hanson & 2011- Devin Trefz, Annika Smed).
*Nikki Husfeldt already has 3,972 assists in her UND career and would become 3rd player to reach 4,000 in her career.

DYNAMIC DUO
Two University of North Dakota volleyball student-athletes have been recognized for their hard work in the classroom in addition to their on-court achievements as senior Ronni Munkeby (Lisbon, N.D.) and sophomore Lauren Clarke (Naperville, Ill./Waubonsie) were each named to the 2013 Capital One Academic All-District® Volleyball First Team, selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America. The program recognizes the nation’s top student‐athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom. Capital One has been the entitlement rights holder to CoSIDA’s Academic All-America teams programs since 2011.

The Academic All-District® teams are divided into eight geographic districts across the United States and Canada. Honorees are chosen from NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III participants, while the College Division team combines NAIA, Canadian and two‐year schools. District 6 is comprised of schools located in Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

First-team Academic All‐District® honorees advance to the Capital One Academic All-America® Team ballot, where first‐, second‐ and third‐team All-America honorees will be selected later this month.

600 SERIES
North Dakota etched its 600th win in the program’s history with a Sep. 26 sweep of Weber State. Of those wins, 121 have come in its NCAA Division I era (since 2008).

CLIMBING THE LADDER
Head coach Ashley Hardee notched his 100th win on Thursday, Oct. 10 with a win over Eastern Washington. With a win on Saturday at Weber State, Hardee moved into third place on the UND coaching wins list. Here’s a look at where he stands all-time for UND coaching victories:
 
Lisa Kissee      137 wins (7 seasons)
Maria Bruggeman    124 wins (8 seasons)
Ashley Hardee        110 wins (5th season)
Carol Cooke     105 wins (7 seasons)

PIOSKE’S PLAUDITS
Freshman Anna Pioske recorded 44 combined kills in a pair of road wins for North Dakota at Idaho State and Weber State, earning her Big Sky Conference Player of the Week accolades as announced by league officials Nov. 4. Pioske tallied a career-best 23 finishes in a five-set win at Idaho State and added 21 the following night at Weber State.

For the week, Pioske averaged 4.89 kills, 1.78 digs and 1.0 blocks per set. She hit .341 with 44 kills on 91 attempts with 13 errors. She becomes the third UND honoree as Ronni Munkeby won back-to-back awards on Sep. 23 and 30.

SENIOR SPOTLIGHTED...TWICE
Senior Ronni Munkeby tallied a pair of 13-kill matches to help North Dakota to a perfect 2-0 road week at Montana State and Montana, Sep. 20-21. The Lisbon, N.D. native also added seven total blocks and a service ace on the week. She was honored as the Big Sky Conference Player of the Week for her efforts.
 
She also won the award the following week for her 29 combined kills in wins over Weber State and Idaho State. Munkeby tied a career-best with 19 kills in the win over the Bengals.

WHOOOAAA, WE’RE HALFWAY THERE....
North Dakota hit an incredible .500 as a team in the Sep. 30 win over North Dakota State. That mark was easily the best of the season and was just shy of the all-time record set back in 1991, a 3-0 trouncing of South Dakota that produced a .534 hit percentage.

HITTING THE BOOKS
The UND volleyball team earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s Team Academic Award with a cumulative 3.461 grade point average last season. The award, which was initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors collegiate and high school volleyball teams that displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale or a 4.10 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale.
 
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.

BIG SKY TOURNEY ON RADIO
All UND matches at this year’s Big Sky Tournament will be broadcast live on KKXL 1440-AM in Grand Forks. UND earned a bye into the semifinal round of the tournament which will begin at 7:00 p.m. Central time Friday. Join Mitch Wigness for the pregame show at 6:45 pm Friday and if UND advances to the championship Saturday (8:45 pm pregame).

WATCHBIGSKY.com
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.

 

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