(Photo Credit: Russ Hons-FightingHawks.com)
Last night, at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center in front of 2401 screaming fans, University of North Dakota Volleyball Fans were treated to a rousing five set thriller where the home team used a strong offensive effort in the fifth and final set to take their second Summit League Victory over rival North Dakota State University.
That game was a tale of different sets. In the first and second set combined, UND had 34 kills and nine attack errors on 83 swings. They won both of them, despite NDSU’s ability to play a low error game and limit mistakes. In the third and fourth set, the Fighting Hawks had 26 kills and 12 attack errors on 72 swings. UND had to play five sets as NDSU overcame multiple match points in the fourth set to force the deciding fifth and final set.
Jordan Vail and Brynn Nieukirk had career high evenings in kills with 19 and 18, respectively. The efficiency of Vail was critical for UND. She managed to hit at a .567 clip with 19 kills and a mere two errors or 30 swings.
On defense, four Fighting Hawks had double digit digs. Taliyah Flores lead the way with 30 digs. Finally, Roosa Rautio had another superb night of setting with 61 assists on the evening. Her ability to distribute for UND this year is a key every single night as she sets up most attacks for the Fighting Hawks.
Below are some things to watch for as UND takes on Oral Roberts at home this Friday.
UND had 13 service errors in five sets. That is too many. The team acknowledged they need to build on their service work. This matters because it seemed like multiple errors swung momentum and kept NDSU in the match or gave them the ball back after a key point. In addition, these errors, combined with some of the other issues in UND’s receive game limited their chances to put NDSU away sooner.
UND has to get ready for another big test friday night at the Betty against Oral Roberts. UND does have experience doing this, playing in multiple tournaments and playing on short rest routinely. Limiting errors among other things will be a key metric in Friday’s matchup. How UND starts their points in service matters a lot. UND had 13 service errors last night. NDSU only had five.
Limiting Attack Errors
Multiple times this season, UND players have talked at length about hitting with intention and being more thoughtful about limiting their attack errors. Last night UND had 22 attack errors on 182 swings to go with 69 kills. These errors combined with the aforementioned service errors gave NDSU momentum during sets three and four and kept the Bison in the game. If UND can reduce their errors just a bit and maximize the efficiency of their hitters up front, Friday’s matchup could be over a bit earlier than five sets.