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Jeff Kolpack, Published October 09 2012

UND takes straight set volleyball victory over North Dakota State

FARGO – The state’s Division I advantage in volleyball goes to the University of North Dakota, which had the better playmakers than North Dakota State when it counted Tuesday night.

UND followed last year’s four-set victory with a 25-19, 25-21, 25-22 win at Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse – NDSU’s home floor. It was the second win in three tries for UND since the series renewed two years ago and it came in front of 1,413 fans, the 10th largest crowd in NDSU history.

On a historical note, it was UND’s first win in Fargo since 1976.

Perhaps nobody enjoyed it more than the only in-state starter on either team. The loudest pre-game ovation was for UND junior Ronni Munkeby, who had a group of 50 fans on hand from her hometown of Lisbon.

“This means the world to me,” she said. “I grew up with this in my backyard. After our first year losing down here, it was awesome to beat them last year at home but even better to get revenge on their home court tonight.”

The telltale stretch was Set 2, when UND scored the final six points to erase a 21-19 deficit. The Bison had three errors in that span, which came on top of kills by UND’s Felicia Ulrich and Lexi Robinson, who displayed one of the more powerful arm swings on either team.

“Our goal is to close out games, be aggressive,” Munkeby said. “Don’t back down, play with confidence and play with courage.”

Like UND (9-10 overall) did in the opening set, NDSU (7-12) bolted to a 7-1 lead in Set 3. But unlike the Bison, UND came back in the non-conference matchup.

“They definitely had the mentality to finish,” said NDSU head coach Kari Thompson. “Earlier in the year we struggled at the end of games and I thought we were over that. We weren’t making the defensive plays we normally make.”

UND took any home crowd advantage out of the equation early with a convincing performance in the opening set. It ended 25-19, but the margins were consistently larger than that.

UND overcame deficits in the last two sets, something that head coach Ashley Hardee said has been a point in emphasis in practice considering there is not a senior on the roster.

“We’ve been doing a lot of competitive things in practice, competing as much as we can,” he said. “I think it’s starting to show. To beat a really good team on their home floor showed a lot of toughness.”

Fittingly, Munkeby had two kills in UND’s final five points of the night.

“I think she’s waited a long time for this,” Hardee said. “She played fantastic. She had a huge kill late for us and she’s the rock of our team.”

UND (kills-blocks-aces): Krueger 10-1-0, Husfeldt 3-1-1 (42 assists), Robinson 13-1-0, Ulrich 10-0-1, Munkeby 6-2-1, Parlich 8-0-0, Clarke 0-0-2 (22 digs), McNallan 0-0-0, Hart 1-0-0.

NDSU: Yager 1-0-0 (20 assists), Dombeck 1-0-1, Joki 10-1-1, Lambertson 10-2-0, Cammack 5-0-2, Whalen 3-2-0, Henning 0-0-0 (14 digs), Fassbender 6-0-0, Riese 0-0-0.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia