Second Straight: How UND Volleyball Earned Its Second Consecutive Sweep at the UND Classic

For the second consecutive match at the UND Classic, the Fighting Hawks pulled off a sweep today. In this one the swept the Western Carolina Catamounts (25-19, 25-19, and 25-16). With this win, the Fighting Hawks are now 3-3 on the season.

Like yesterday, the Fighting Hawks were able to utilize a strong effort up front from Kayla Williams, Jordan Vail, and Ashley Brueggeman to deliver a strong victory .

Despite the score, UND also had multiple times where it only capitalized on WCU errors and were not able to put them away. The Fighting Hawks played an up-and-down game and were still able to put away the victory.

The Fighting Hawks will have to get ready quickly for their next match later on as they take on the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters.

As for this game, a couple of things stood out.

Freshman Roosa Rautio seems to get at least 30 assists in most of UND’s games as she has most of the way this year. Today her 32 asssists allowed the frontline of UND to be in the right spot to put away more chances. UND hit .272 on the match including a .302 third set.

Second, Kayla Williams is making a case for Summit League honors with her play at this tournament. Coming off a double double, she helped UND on offense and defense. Her two way play ( 11 kills, 6 digs, 2 aces) helped key UND in all areas in different phases today. Look for more from the UCONN transfer each and every time out there.

If UND can maintain consistency tonight against Louisiana Tech and avoid long stretches of errors or missed chances, then good things could be in store tonight at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

Three Thoughts on UND Football After Season Opening Win

Last night, UND used a strong second half to pull away from an upstart Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils’ squad. They had some good things, things to build on, and questions answered going forward. How they build on these things will go a long way to determining their fate next weekend against FBS powerhouse the University of Washington. The Fighting Hawks travel to take on the Huskies next weekend.

The Good

Starting quarterback Nate Ketteringham had a stupendous first game. He made the majority of his throws and absent a few drops, his final stat line (19-30 225 yards and 3 TD’s) could have been even better. He utilized seven different Fighting Hawks in a diverse passing attack. That passing attack was also bolstered by Ketteringham’s ability to scramble as he eluded pressure and ran for 25 yards on six carries with a QB sneak touchdown.

The display of speed and versatility that Coach Danny Freund’s Jets (wideouts) put on was fun to watch. Izzy Adeoti (3 catches on 40 yafds) and Garett Maag (First College Football Touchdown) had multiple chances and were fun to watch. Adeoti finished last season with 93 receiving yards and already has almost half his total after one game. Izzy’s speed allows UND to utilize him on multiple jet sweep and quick strike looks.

Things to Build Upon

While the UND defense had seven sacks on the night and pressured MVSU QB Chris Fowler at-will, the secondary was shown to have some things to sure up. The Delta Devils utilized their veteran receiving corps to make quick plays on the periphery that provided a lot of their offense. UND gave up 263 yards in the air on 22 completions. UND needs to figure out more max coverage packages to compensate against Washington. They will not be able to bring five or six players at will like they could last night.

On special teams, while Cade Peterson handled punting last night, it would not shock me to see graduate transfer Warren Taylor get some looks as well. Peterson had two punts with a long of 26 yards. While he won the punting competition, no job is ever safe on a week-to-week basis with this staff. In addition, UND freshman kicker Brady Leach missed two field goals from under 40 yards. The Fighting Hawks will improve in both areas going forward.

Questions Answered

At full health, the UND defense will force most teams to change their style a bit to move the ball. While MVSU is a pass first team, they had to rely on it all game because the strong run defense of UND limited them to -27 yards on 26 attempts.

Nate Ketteringham looks to be the real deal. He made every throw presented, and looked calm and efficient directing the offense.

The running back trio of UND is still their biggest asset on offense. John Santiago, Brady Oliveira and James Johannesson will determine how this offense goes this season. UND implemented a new full-house formation with all of them and ran a lot of successful looks out of them all night.

 

35-7: How Tonight’s Score Does Not Tell the Whole Story for MVSU

(Photo Credit: Russ Hons – FightingHawks.com)

When I talked to Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils’ Head Coach Vincent Dancy a few weeks ago, he wanted to see what type of team he would have this season. Well the Delta Devils found out a few things about their team tonight in Grand Forks.

Despite the 35-7 final score, MVSU found that they can compete with the teams they play. Dancy, and starting quarterback Chris Fowler noted their ability to utilize their superb passing game to move the ball as needed. He finished the night 22-39 with 263 yards and a touchdown pass to Demarcu Fraizer. The senior corps of wideouts for the Delta Devils will be their strength on offense this season,They made play after play tonight and did not drop a ball.

Fowler’s ability to find Frazier, Booker Chambers, and Quinn McElfresh among others will determine a lot about the 2018 Delta Devils and their performance in the SWAC. Chambers impressed me with his ability to create big plays both in the slot and in special teams. He finished the night with 150 total all purpose yards.

Head Coach Dancy noted some more things. The Delta Devils left according to him 17 points on the board as they gave up a fumble on the UND goal line, a missed 29 yard field goal, and not being able to punch in the best kick return of the night from Booker Chambers which only went for 79 yards. In addition, the Delta Devils played a tough game on defense and forced UND to run the ball frequently. Despite the final statistics, they do not tell the entire story for this team. While UND was able to move the ball, Coach Dancy’s defense forced some mistakes and made UND make plays to beat them. UND is one of the toughest teams MVSU will play this season. For Coach Dancy to take this team in his first game as their leader, and help keep them in it through three quarters and competitive throughout should leave MVSU fans with hope for the future of the Dancy Era.

One thing that stood out to me was at the end of the game. From the press box it looked like Fowler was motioning for the punt team to stay off the field to punt to UND to end the game. The team still punted but the body language of the Delta Devils showed me something tonight. This team traveled across the country to open up another season in North Dakota and handled themselves well. They played a team with a superb pass rush, running back trio, and talented wideouts just to name a few of their high-skilled areas, and hung with them.

MVSU still has things to work on this week, of course, if they can convert on half of their chances that they create they will be in more games in SWAC play and beyond. This bodes well for the future of what Dancy wants to do. He has instilled a complete culture of competition and 100 percent energy as a basic expectation in Itta Bena. As Fowler said of Dancy, “he treats us like champions.”  That showed in every aspect of how the Delta Devils warmed up and played tonight. If the MVSU that went five for seven in converting third downs in the first half can repeat the things that drive them against Jacksonville State and beyond, then good things both this year and long term could await one of the most storied schools in the country regarding developing top-tier NFL talent.

 

 

UND Soars to Sweep of Eastern Washington: Three Thoughts

Coming into this one, the Fighting Hawks showed they could hang with top talent in their four matchups in Texas last weekend. One thing they wanted to build on was limiting errors. The first set provided the best example of that as UND limited itself to two errors while soaring past Eastern Washington 25-10. The team hit well in the first set, hitting 36.7 percent with a mere two attack errors. That set the pace for the rest of the way. UND has a doubleheader tomorrow to round out their participation in the UND Classic. The Fighting Hawks first take on Western Carolina, then later on in the evening they take on Louisiana Tech.

Here are some thoughts on today and what to expect tomorrow.

  1. Kayla Williams is going to make a claim to best six rotation hitter in the Summit League if she keeps up her pace. She had a superb game and was all over the court for the Fighting Hawks. She had a double-double and finished with 12 kills and 13 digs. She was there when Eastern made a few mini runs in the second set. Her versatility complements the superb blockers and front line of UND Volleyball.
  2. Jordan Vail has shown that she is on track to have another superb year up front for UND. Her hieght and versatility in the rotation are a proven asset for this team, and today they were on full display. She hit at a 40 percent pace today with 16 kills.
  3. Heading into tomorrow’s doubleheader, look to see how UND plays with limiting its errors, a key component to this one. Head coach Mark Pryor has made this a key component of the culture he has instilled, and it will be a key thing to watch tomorrow as UND plays a doubleheader.

UND Volleyball: Retooling with Kayla Williams

(Photo Courtesy of Russell Hons/UND Athletics)

On Tuesday night, UND Volleyball fans got to see their first look at a revamped 2018 squad trying to carry its Big Sky success over to the Summit League.  This retooled squad comes with transfer Kayla Williams. The former University of Connecticut star came to North Dakota for this season and looks to take over one of the key outside hitter roles vacated by UND’s large senior class. She has already produced an immediate impact with 23 kills (16,7) in the Fighting Hawks’ first two matches, and another double digit kill effort to help UND win its first match of the season against Green Bay this morning.

Upon her transfer, VolleyMob noted some key statistics from Williams’ previous season with UCONN:

“This past season, Williams missed eight matches yet still led the Huskies in kills (310, 3.83 per set) and aces (33, 0.41 per set). She also notched 228 digs (2.81 per set) and 33 blocks (0.41 per set).”

On recruiting Williams to UND, Fighting Hawks Head Coach Mark Pryor described the importance of being able to attract talent like Kayla to UND. Williams can play all six rotations and is an outside hitter. Last year, she finished third in the American Athletic Conference in points per set. Having Williams helps UND maintain its competitive nature going into the new season in the conference. Look for the Staten Island, NY native to have an immediate impact on the Fighting Hawks this season.

From Williams’ perspective, she was drawn to UND due to the superb culture that Coach Pryor has built. She was contacted after the start of 2018. Williams came to Grand Forks during the one of the coldest parts of the year to check things out. She came when the temperature was -19 degrees outside. Atmosphere and the team, definitely not the weather first drew her to this campus to play.

Kayla describes her style on the court as ” hard working, persistent, and a little annoying.” That superb tenacity has already payed immediate dividends with her contributions to the score sheet in all three matches this season.

Away from the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center, Williams appreciates the design of the campus and its overall home-like feeling it provides.

Look for more from Kayla this season as she has already proven to provide an immediate impact on the court.

 

 

DOT Champs: Another Chat with Ryan Duncan

To close the 2017-2018 NHL season, Washington Capitals forward, and star UND Alum T.J Oshie won the Stanley Cup as the Caps defeated the Vegas Golden Knights in five games. This marks a milestone for the famed Duncan-Oshie-Toews line that delighted UND fans in the 2006-2007 season. Everyone who played on that line has one at least one league championship in their professional careers.

Toews and Oshie both have their Stanley Cups(Three for Toews, One for Oshie), while Hobey Baker Award winner Ryan Duncan has four league championships in the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga  (EBEL) , the top pro league in Austria,  with Red Bull Salzburg in Austria along with an IIHF Continental Cup Championship. Duncan’s season kicks off in a few weeks as his side takes part in the Champions Hockey League, a European competition that is a best-on-best tournament for most top leagues in Europe.

Duncan has had some time to reflect on his two linemates, and the unique aspect of all three members of a college hockey line winning a league championship in professional hockey. Below are some questions of mine on his time at UND, and his thoughts on the success of his linemates along with some unique stories about them.

Tell us something about your linemates that people do not know.

1. “It’s tough to think of something that people don’t already know about both Osh and Jon because they’re such big public figures now but I have two stories about them that people might not know. First with Osh, I don’t know if this story has been told yet but I think he wasn’t supposed to come to UND in 2005. I think the original plan for him was to go play a year of junior and then come to UND in 2006. There were a couple guys who left early and signed pro in the summer of 2005 and that opened up a spot for Osh. As soon as he arrived on campus it was pretty evident he was more than ready for the college game and his outstanding freshman season proved that. Kind of a similar story with Jon. Jon had just turned 15 years old and decided to move from Winnipeg to Shattuck-St. Mary’s to further his hockey career. He was very highly touted and expectations were high for him coming in. When he arrived at Shattuck he had an underwhelming tryout to say the least. The Coaches ended up naming him to the Prep team (top team at Shattuck) anyway but I’ll never forget what the Coaches said at our first team meeting. They said they had selected some guys for the Prep team based on what they had done in the past and not necessarily what they had done in tryouts so they would have a lot of proving themselves to do during the season. Needless to say I think Jonny more than proved himself. He ended up leading our team in goals that season.”

What on-ice skills did you learn from your linemates?

2. “I learned a lot from both of them on the ice. Their talent is obviously elite but they did so many little things well. Osh was so strong on his skates and his puck skills were off the charts. The puck seemed to stick to his blade. Jonny was so tenacious and determined on the puck. He wouldn’t be denied. I try my best to mimic some of those characteristics but it’s easier said than done.”

What did it mean to see Toews and Oshie win their respective championships?

3. “To witness Jonny and Osh achieve the success they have had at the highest level of hockey has brought me a huge sense of pride. Whether it be their success Internationally or in the NHL, every time they do something special it reiterates to me how lucky I was to play with such world class players and people. And knowing all of the hard work they have put into obtaining those goals makes me appreciate them even more.”

How often do all three of you stay in touch?

4. “Admittedly, the three of us aren’t in contact as much as we used to be or we would like to be but when we do get to talk or spend time together it’s a real pleasure. We had an undeniable chemistry on the ice that is hard to find and that chemistry definitely extended to off the ice as well. We developed a deep bond during those years and even though we might not talk as much anymore that bond still runs deep.”

Looking back on your time at UND, what was your favorite class here?

5. “I was fortunate to have a lot of enjoyable classes with some great professors during my time at UND. If I have to pick one favorite class I would probably say one of my business management courses taught by Professor Kathy Jones. I’m a business management major so I believe Mrs. Jones taught me a few classes. She left a big impact on a lot of her students including me. She was very encouraging and she created a really fun classroom atmosphere.”

Whenever you retire from playing, do you know what you want to do next?

6. “I’m not sure what I want to do after I’m done playing quite yet. Hopefully I’ll stay involved with the game of hockey in some capacity but I’ve got a young growing family so what’s best for them will be my first priority. But hopefully I have a little more time to figure things out before I cross that bridge.”

 

Three Thoughts on UND Soccer Following the Preseason

(Photo Credit:Russell Hons/UND Athletics)

After the Fighting Hawks held on to win an exhibition victory over the University of South Dakota 2-1, Head Coach Chris Logan noted some things from Saturday’s sun-drenched affair on a scorching summer afternoon in East Grand Forks. Logan’s areas for improvement do not take away from the complete effort given by everyone during the exhibition season.On Saturday, he was impressed with his team’s ability to bounce back and hold on to the lead despite the physical battle against South Dakota.These areas will help provide a guide to what type of team UND will be this year. UND opens up its regular season this Friday against Nicholls State.

  1. This Fighting Hawks team has a lot of speed, especially from its freshman class. Olivia Knox and Cassie Giddings among others have had two superb games up front for the Fighting Hawks. Chris Logan wanted more complimentary pieces to superb senior scorer Katie Moller. It looks like he and his staff have provided those pieces to compliment Moller up front. Look for this superb freshman class to take advantage of the turf surface on UND’s temporary home field in East Grand Forks this season.
  2. Logan has noted UND’s need to win more physical battles. This became more evident in the South Dakota game. While UND won the game, South Dakota generated a lot of chances and won a lot of one on one physical battles. If the Fighting Hawks can get back to winning these key confrontations, they can limit chances generated and utilize their full arsenal of superb attackers to generate high quality chances.
  3. Finally, with the season opening this Friday at Nicholls State, UND needs to focus on what has worked so far this season. Utilize opportunistic chances and speed to get forward to open up the opposing defense. This team generates more chance on offense. The goal for this first weekend swing down south (Nicholls State, Southern) is to build on the offense while getting back to playing a lock down defense to limit opposing offense and using the back four to start counter attacks up to a full roster of forwards that can make plays in space. This Fighting Hawks team has shown consistent resilience and ability to persevere through games over the past two seasons to improve on their result even when the other team may generate more offense. That ability to bounce back will serve them well on this first southern swing this season.

 

 

 

MVSU-UND Preview: An Interview with First Year MVSU Coach Vincent Dancy

In just three weeks, UND Football will open its 2018 campaign against the Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) Delta Devils at home in front of a raucous Alerus Center. I reached out to first year Head Coach Vincent Dancy for his thoughts on taking the MVSU job, what he is hoping to accomplish this season, and more. Check here for some thoughts from Clarion-Ledger reporter Tyler Cleveland on what to expect from MVSU this season, and what the Delta Devils should focus on as they prepare to make the trek north.

  1. What inspired you to take this job as head coach?
    • “I’ve always dreamed of being a head coach plus the rich tradition that MVSU has had in the past years made this job more appealing.”
  2. What type of style does your team play?
    • “Offensively we play a high tempo ground and pound system with multiple formations. Defensively we are an even front team with multiple coverages in the secondary.”
  3. Long-term, what is your vision of Delta Devils Football?
    • “My vision for Delta Devils Football [involves four areas].
      • For every athlete to complete their degree requirements.
      • To establish the football [team] as a consistent winner.
      • For [the] MVSU Football program to be one of the leaders in FCS attendance.
      • To win the Celebration Bowl.”
  1. What do you look to gain from your trip to Grand Forks?
    • “I look to gain a clear cut identity of who we are heading into the 2018 season.”
  2. Your offense features preseason 1st team all-conference wideout Quinn McElfresh. What do you expect him to bring to this team both on and off the field this year?
    • “Quinn is a special football player and our team knows that but we expect him to be more vocal and lead us on and off the field.”
  3. What does 1st team all- conference linebacker Patrick Harbin bring to the defense?
    • “Experience- Patrick has been in the program 4 years now and has been a contributor 3 of those years. So his knowledge of the game should help us out tremendously.”
  4. Who is one standout freshman fans should keep an eye on this season?
    • “Caleb Johnson, He’s a dynamic RB from Memphis, TN who can do a lot of things very well out of the back field.”
  5. What is your goal for this season?
    • “My goal is to have a first-class team and image in everything we do. Also, to be competitive in conference play and win games we are favored to win.”
  6. What does the program’s legacy mean to you, especially regarding helping 21 players get drafted by NFL teams?
    • “That’s one reason why I wanted this job. The legacy that Coach Archie Cooley, Willie Totten and Jerry Rice established here will forever be remembered. Also Deacon Jones, who invented the term “sack” will always be glorified as long as there is football being played!”
  7. What is the one thing you would tell fans in Grand Fork that they may not know about MVSU Football?
    • “That we’re hungry and ready like never before!”

Three Quick Thoughts on UND Soccer’s Preseason Opener 5-1 Victory:Beyond The Box Score

Last night, the University of North Dakota Soccer team got off to a fast start in their preseason opener against the University of Manitoba Bisons. They won the game 5-1 on a goal eight seconds in from Katie Moller, and a superb showing by freshman playing their first game helped spur the Fighting Hawks to an exhibition win.

  1. When the coaching staff mentioned which recruits that would contribute this year, each of them had a different answer. Head Coach Chris Logan’s answer of Olivia Knox proved very timely yesterday. She had a superb game getting multiple chances and using her speed to keep the offense going. Knox had two goals and an assist. The goals came from her crashing the net on a free kick rebound, and drawing a foul in the box. Knox converted the penalty kick she earned.
  2. Although she did not score a goal, Mimi Eiden, sophomore forward used her speed on the fast turf surface at East Grand Forks to setup numerous chances. The coaching staff was impressed with the winter and spring seasons she had, the 423 fans at last night’s game can understand why. We all knew that Eiden plays fast and uses her speed to generate chances, this turf field could propel her to even greater heights this year as she builds on a solid freshman campaign.
  3. Although Logan was quite happy with the offense, and pace of the game, one thing to watch as UND takes on South Dakota Saturday is its defense. Manitoba scored its only goal on a superb long shot towards the end of the game by utilizing gaps in UND’s defense. If the Fighting Hawks can matchup well against a Summit League squad on Saturday, even in exhibition play, it will be a sign of good things to come this season. The Fighting Hawks showed strong defense last season, if it can figure out the turf field and the offense can build on last night’s performance, good things are in store this season for UND.

UND Football: Coach Freund and The Jets- Izzy Adeoti

Coach Danny Freund is a fixture on regarding all things UND Football. From his playing days a superb quarterback(16-6 in two years as a starter, most accurate QB in UND Football history) for UND to his numerous roles coaching every position group on the offensive side of the ball except offensive line, Danny Freund has been there. Since Bubba Schweigert took over as UND Head Coach in 2014, Freund has been working with wide receivers.

Four years ago, during spring practice, Freund came up with a name for his position group. His wide receivers are referred to as “The Jets”. He and his position group came up with that name shortly into Bubba’s tenure as the group needed an identity. The group of players there and Freund went with that name because jets are ” fast… smooth, but they’re [also] really explosive.” That describes the type of player that Coach Freund looks for in his position group. As he noted, the players went with the nick name and it has stuck through to this season.

One Jet returning for his sophomore season is Izzy Adeoti. The Plano, Illinois native took a unique path to Grand Forks. The staff did not see him at any of their recruiting camps.Most UND recruits are seen by the staff at one of their camps held in the summers before a player has to commit to a school. Freund noted that the staff looked at Izzy’s numbers, especially numbers on his overall speed from other camps. Adeoti’s speed stats first drew UND’s attention to him. The staff stepped up their pursuit of him in October of Izzy’s senior year. Former UND recruiting coordinator and running backs coach Kevin Maurice, Offensive Coordinator Paul Rudolph, and Freund all were involved with recruiting Izzy.

Freund and the staff want Izzy to further utilize his speed to become a consistent deep threat this season. Watching some of Izzy’s high school film and select highlights from last season, along with seeing him in fall camp this year showcase his ability to do just that can be a potential positive harbinger of things to come this season. The staff has been impressed with Izzy’s first few fall practices as he continues and develop like every other football player at UND, day-by-day.

Izzy noted that the coaching staff drew him to UND. Once the Fighting Hawks stepped up their pursuit of Adeoti, they were the most persistent school regarding staying in touch with him and helping him see what the Fighting Hawks were doing on the field. , Adeoti noted how valuable the constant connections the staff made with him were “it really made me feel wanted instead of just like somebody else.”

Since coming to Grand Forks, the staff has instilled the value of constant development and hard work to Adeoti as they have with all Fighting Hawks.Learning the value of ” pure work” regarding football at a division one school is the biggest thing coach Freund and the rest of the staff have taught Izzy. He is a team-first player who enjoys time with his teammates both on and off the field. Spending time with the rest of the team, especially over this summer is one of the main things Adeoti enjoys doing when not on the field.

The Plano, Illinois native is looking to build to this season. He wants to be “that guy” this year. “That guy” is often defined as a reliable player who can contribute in different situations. Coach Freund noted Izzy’s potential to fly past defenses this year. August 30, at the Alerus Center, against the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils will be Izzy’s first chance to take flight with The Jets against another team this season.