(Photo Credit: Russ Hons-FightingHawks.com)
On Friday, UND did some things differently. One of its best middle hitters, Ashley Brueggeman, played the outside for the first time in her college career. She tied her career high in kills with 17. Despite UND developing its new look lineup and showing that it is still competitive with a good Omaha team, they did not pull off the victory. The Mavericks hit .232 on the evening and used their limited error sets to pull away and take the match in four sets.
What now for UND? Where do the Fighting Hawks go the rest of the way?
UND has relied more on freshman like Darian Chwialkowski in the past few matches. I have been impressed with how Head Coach Mark Pryor has developed some of his depth and freshman players this season. As UND has played more games, they have featured more diverse lineups as the season has progressed. While UND’s Summit record does not place them near the top of the table, the development of underclassmen like Lexi Ahrens among others will benefit UND immensely this season and beyond. This team does not rebuild in college volleyball, they merely reload. This process is merely reloading and development.
That Was Fun
Mark Pryor noted how much fun it was to coach that group last night. The result was what no one wanted, of course, but you could tell this team is developing a chemistry that will serve them well in the long run. If UND can iron out some of its hitting error issues, then they could still surprise a few teams in Summit Volleyball down the stretch. This team willed its way back into the match playing a strong third and fourth set to get things a little closer last night. Do they still have work to do? Of course. Does this team look like a squad building for both the rest of this season and the long term? You bet.