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Eric Peterson, Published November 14 2010

College volleyball: Lambertson, Bison sweep over ORU

The focus was on fun for North Dakota State on Saturday at Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse, a philosophy produced victory.

Megan Lambertson smacked 15 kills to spark the Bison to a 25-18, 25-20, 25-18 victory against Oral Roberts University in Summit League volleyball before an announced crowd of 918 fans.

“We had a lot of fun, having fun playing the game,” said Bison senior outside hitter Brooke VandenBergh, who had seven kills, two aces and 11 digs. “We are all comfortable playing together out there and just had a good time.”

NDSU (18-10, 14-4 Summit) had already secured the No. 2 seed for the Summit League tournament, heading into Saturday’s match against Oral Roberts (12-14, 10-8) to close out the regular season.

It’s NDSU’s third straight conference title.

The Bison host the conference tournament, which is next Friday and Saturday at Bentson Bunker.

“It was just a lot of fun and things were clicking,” Lamberston said. “When things are clicking it’s a lot easier to play.”

The Bison have a 7-1 record since interim head coach Kari Thompson took over the team from Erich Hinterstocker, who resigned earlier this season.

“We knew that we already had our spot and our seeding,” Thompson said. “It was definitely one of those nights where had to focus on us.”

The Bison were tied at 15-15 with Oral Roberts in the first set. NDSU responded with a 7-0 run that shifted the momentum in its favor. Lambertson had three kills during that key stretch that ultimately sparked the Bison to a 25-18 victory in the opening set. Brynn Joki scored set point powering a kill through the block on the left side of the net.

The Bison were also strong in closing out the second and third sets. NDSU ended Set 2 on a 10-5 run and the third set on a

9-5 surge. Junior setter Jennifer Lopez earned match point with an ace.

“You want to end on a good note. You are not going to go up there and give it up. You want to make a statement going into the tournament,” VandenBergh said. “This is my favorite week of practice because everybody is just so excited. It’s a whole new feel.”

Thompson likes the way her team is playing heading into the Summit League tournament. The winner earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I tournament. The Bison lost in the conference tournament title match last season.

“A lot of the teams that are coming in enjoy playing here,” Thompson said. “They like the fans so we usually get our opponent’s best.”

ORAL ROBERTS (kills-blocks-aces): Ophus 7-0-1, Cate 8-1-2, Gruber 7-0-0, Swier 4-2-0, McVicker 3-1-0, Rossi 2-0-0, Fredeen 0-0-0, Pancratz 0-1-0, Silva 0-0-0 (18 digs), Taylor 4-1-0 (14 assists), Rosa 0-0-0.

NDSU: VandenBergh 7-0-2, Lopez 1-0-1 (29 assists), Knuth 8-5-0, Joki 12-2-1, Lambertson 15-2-0, Sheridan 3-1-0, Deyle 0-1-0, McLaughlin 0-0-0 (16 digs), Kissman 0-0-0.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.