Tonight, the University of North Dakota Volleyball team faced one of their toughest opponents of the season. Slow starts in sets one and three, and a resilient Akron Zips side in set two did in the Fighting Hawks at home and secured the UND Classic Title for the Akron Zips (25-14, 25-23, 25-15).
The Zips won by playing consistently physical volleyball, relying on strong attacks, and capitalizing on unforced errors to keep UND hitting out of its system tonight. When the Fighting Hawks kept it closest was when their blockers, lead by Lexi Ahrens in the second set, were able to hang with the Zips. Every time UND got close, minus the tie at 23 in the second set tonight, an error at the service line or the Zips would push the margin right back out again.
With all of that being said, there were some positives on the weekend for these Fighting Hawks. Coach Jeremiah Tiffin was happy that the team got some bench contributions on the weekend from players like Sara Antic among others who picked up their team, especially against Eastern Washington, when needed.
Going forward, one thing is clear after the non-conference slate of this season being done. This team will rise or fall based on its starts. Keep an eye on who gets to five first and what the margin is. If UND can stay in front of that margin and force teams to play perfect volleyball, they will win a few more games than expected and have results more mirroring the pacing of set five against Eastern Washington.
When that does not happen, the results will largely replicate sets one and three from tonight where they have to answer back against a tough Summit League schedule.
UND now heads on the road to take on a very good Omaha team with some quality non conference wins, and South Dakota after that before returning home October 4 to take on Western Illinois.