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Ronni Munkeby (16) and UND celebrate during UND's 3-1 win over Idaho State.
Munkeby powers UND to 4-0 Big Sky mark
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Updated: Wednesday 09/29/2013 18:32:04 (ET)
by Mitch Wigness, UND Media Relations
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GRAND FORKS, N.D.-- Senior co-captain Ronni Munkeby tallied a career-high tying 19 kills to help North Dakota remain unbeaten in Big Sky Conference play with a 3-1 (25-20, 19-25, 25-20, 26-24) win over Idaho State Saturday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

It was a playoff-type atmosphere as 1,223 witnessed two of the top teams in the league duke it out. UND (8-7, 4-0 Big Sky) punched and ISU (8-7, 2-2) countered along the way but it was the home team that stood tall with an unblemished league record at the finish.

The first set saw seven tie scores and three lead changes with neither team holding a lead of more than four points. That didn't come until midway through the frame when three straight UND points-- the final two on ISU miscues-- gave North Dakota a 15-11 advantage prompting a timeout.

Out of the break, the Bengals quickly rallied to re-knot the score at 16-all and following a kill by Marissa Todd, it was 20-19 ISU. With Nikki Husfeldt serving, UND embarked on a 6-0 run to close the set with Lexi Robinson (15 kills) and Munkeby trading blows in the flurry.

The second-set was another battle as eight tie scores and four lead changes had things all square at 16-apiece. From there, ISU was able to wrestle away control for good to tie the match at 1-1 with a 25-19 win.

After the intermission, UND got out to a lead and never looked back in the third frame. ISU closed within two points on several occasions, but each time it was met with a different UND player generating a sideout. First it was Anna Pioske's backrow attack that found the floor then a kill down the line for the freshman later in the set that had UND up, 20-16. She would finish off the set with one of her 11 kills and UND owned a 25-20 win for a 2-1 lead in the match.

It was the fourth set that showed UND's ability to withstand a team's best shot. After falling behind 6-2, North Dakota immediately began chipping away and eventually built a 14-12 cushion. The Bengals surged to remount a late three-point lead (20-17) but UND came out of a timeout with a textbook kill from Robinson and two more to make the score 21-apiece as Idaho State burned its final timeout in an effort to hush a now-frantic crowd. It failed as UND fought off a set-point at 24-23 with Munkeby's 19th kill then got a block by Lisa Parlich and Emily Thompson before the match ended on an ISU error.

All told, UND got 15 kills from Robinson and 11 from freshman Pioske in the win. Junior Nikki Husfeldt generated 49 assists while sophomore Lauren Clark chipped-in 26 digs for North Dakota, who also had 13 team blocks in the victory.

ISU was led by Alydia Fields-Grimm's dozen kills while Tressa Lyman, Makenzie Filer each added 11.

North Dakota closes its quick three-match homestand Monday with its final non-conference tilt. Arch-rival North Dakota State is the opponent with a 7:00 p.m. start time. It can be seen live on Midco Sports Network and heard on KKXL 1440AM, WDAY 970 AM, KNDK 95.7 FM and is available on the Internet at WatchBigSky.com.
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