North Dakota Challenges the Yotes but Falls to Reigning Champion
GRAND FORKS, N.D. (UND Athletics) - After a strong showing in the series opener Sunday, the University of North Dakota (2-4, 2-2 Summit) responded in the Monday finale against reigning Summit League Champion South Dakota 3-3 (2-0 Summit), exchanging nine leads and 14 ties in the match as the Coyotes swept the series, 18-25, 20-25, 19-25.
Taylor Riedl paced the Fighting Hawks outside, recording nine kills with a .333 attacking percentage, while fellow outside hitter Sara Antic totaled six kills and a team-high two service aces while also leading UND with 23 service receptions without an error.
Lexi Ahrens scored 6.5 points in the match, recording an ace, a solo block, and three block assists.”I thought we did a really good job responding after yesterday’s match and I’m proud of the way our team came back and fought. At every media break, we were within a point or two of South Dakota but they just did a better job of closing out than us and they deserve a lot of credit for that,” said Head Coach Jeremiah Tiffin.
The opening set started with a 4-1 North Dakota lead and eventually climbed to an 8-4 UND advantage. After a USD rally, the two teams exchanged points to a 15-14 Coyotes lead at the break. After opening with a hitting percentage of .200 up until that point, South Dakota registered seven kills in its final 10 points to take the opening set, 25-18. UND posted a hitting percentage of .268 in the stanza.
The North Dakota service improved in the second set through the remainder of the match is it recorded two service aces in the second set and three more in the third. Despite the Coyotes overpowering UND at the net with 18 kills to the Hawks 11, the Fighting Hawks took advantage of their nine errors in the set.
The UND attack threw the Yotes off-balance in the final frame as it forced 16 errors, including three ball-handling errors and five attacking errors. Antic capitalized on their mishaps as she tallied both aces in the set, including one that put the Fighting Hawks on top 17-16 late in the set. However, an 8-2 run by the Coyotes closed the match.
North Dakota will return to action on Feb. 21 and 22 at Omaha, serving at 2 p.m. on Sunday and 1 p.m. on Monday.
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