SACRAMENTO, Calif.-- Sacramento State out-lasted North Dakota, 3-2, to remain unbeaten in Big Sky Conference play Thursday night. UND suffered its first defeat in league play this season and its first loss in five sets this year as well (4-1).
These teams also went the distance last season in Grand Forks as North Dakota prevailed 15-13 in the final set at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. This time, the home-standing Hornets were able to grab set wins in the first, third and fifth stanzas-- the final a 15-12 victory-- on the way to becoming the last remaining league unbeaten this season.
Sophomore Ashley Brueggeman led the Fighting Hawks' (19-3, 4-1 Big Sky) attack with 14 kills Thursday. Senior Sydney Griffin notched her first career triple double with 42 assists, 19 digs and 10 blocks while just missing a quadruple double with eight kills on the night as well. Faith Dooley notched her second double-double of the season with a dozen kills and 11 blocks.
In a match that was billed as a heavyweight fight, it lived up to its billing. Sacramento State (14-7, 5-0) took a set and North Dakota countered each time to send it to a fifth. Once there, the Hornets used a set-ending 5-2 run to claim the victory and the tiebreaker in the only meeting between the teams this season. North Dakota had 26-24 and 25-22 wins in close second and fourth sets, respectively, but Sac State had a decisive 25-15 win in the third and the late charge at the end to seal the deal.
By no surprise, the match featured 32 tie scores and 14 lead changes in the five sets, including eight tie scores and four lead changes in that deciding fifth set alone. Mikeala Nocetti swung a whopping 69 times in the match, connecting on 21 kills to lead all players. She added 18 digs and four assists in the Hornet win.
UND will head to Portland State Saturday for a 9:00 p.m. Central match against the Vikings.
Notes: North Dakota falls to 6-2 all-time against the Hornets ... The loss snapped UND's 12-match Big Sky winning streak, dating back to last season ... Griffin's triple double was the first of her career and the first UND player to do so since Nikki Husfeldt on Sep. 5, 2014 vs. South Dakota ... Her 10 blocks were a career high.