UND Falls in Four at South Dakota State
BROOKINGS, S.D. (UND Athletics) – The University of North Dakota played with a spirited gumption at South Dakota State in the first match of a three-match road trip this week, grinding out long rally points to shift momentum in its favor. However, the Jackrabbits’ (9-4, 1-1 Summit) physical play proved the difference as they down the Fighting Hawks, 24-26, 25-18, 25-22, 25-17.
Ashlyn Olson led the Fighting Hawks with 11 kills while hitting .320 on the attack. Kelly Wahl added eight kills and hit .438 on 16 attacks. Lexi Ahrens accounted for 11.5 points on six kills, two aces, and seven block assists.
North Dakota took the early 1-0 lead in the match, winning the opening set in deuce, 26-24. While UND had strong momentum late in the set with a 20-15 lead, the Jackrabbits climbed back to pressure North Dakota with a 4-1 run to force a Hawks timeout. After SDSU reversed its deficit and gained set point, 24-23, North Dakota rallied with three-straight games and clinched the set on Lexi Ahrens third block of the set, 26-24.
The momentum stuck with UND in the second set early, but South Dakota State took advantage of its home court advantage at Frost Arena and won the frame, 25-18. Ahrens and Wahl both tallied five kills in the first two sets. Ahrens tallied four blocks and two service aces through two sets as well.
South Dakota State led by as much as eight in the third set with their 16-8 advantage. However, the Fighting Hawks rallied with a 4-0 run and won 12 of the next 19 points to close the gap to four, 22-18, as the Hawks punched their way out of the deficit with five kills and forced three attack errors. With set point on the line, 24-20, UND won the next two games to turn the heat up on the Jacks that included a long rally capped with a McCallister Gayle kill. However, SDSU won the set, 25-23, to take a 2-1 lead.
UND (1-14, 0-3 Summit) will return to action Thursday night when it takes on St. Thomas in the inaugural Summit League meeting. First serve is set for 7 p.m., Central.
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