Fighting Hawks Volleyball Drop Matches in Rhode Island

SMITHFIELD, R.I. (UND Athletics) -- The University of North Dakota volleyball team dropped a pair of matches at Bryant on Friday as both Villanova (22-25, 14-25, 14-25) and the host Bulldogs (21-25, 16-25, 13-25) claimed victories over the Fighting Hawks.

Ashley Brueggeman led North Dakota with 19 kills and a .472 hitting percentage on 36 swings.

"It was a tough way to start the weekend," said Head Coach Jeremiah Tiffin. "It's always important to get off to a fast start, and that's something we've been trying to improve on. There are going to be some growing pains as we continue to develop, but now it's time to show how resilient we are as a team."

North Dakota will close the Hampton Inn-Vitational at Bryant tomorrow morning with a contest against Marist. First serve is set for 11 a.m.

North Dakota (3-2) vs Villanova (3-1)
Despite a tightly contested opening set, the Fighting Hawks dropped its opening match of the tournament to Villanova in straight-sets.

UND controlled early with a 15-12 lead at the midway point of the opening set. While Villanova took the lead, North Dakota hung tight with the Wildcats as it cut their deficit to one point, 23-22. Unfortunately, Nova finished cleanly and did not allow UND to take back the lead.

Villanova controlled the rest of the match as it won the final two frames, 25-14, 25-14. Brueggeman closed the match with 10 kills and a hitting percentage of .421, adding two blocks in defense. Darian Chwialkowski added nine digs and four kills as well, while Kelly Wahl finished with three kills and three blocks.

North Dakota (3-3) at Bryant (1-4)
UND was unable to slow down an explosive Bryant attack that featured two players with double-digit kills in the contest.

Though North Dakota was superior at the net as it out-blocked the Bulldogs, 4-2, it was unable to find a rhythm in the back as Bryant paced the Fighting Hawks in digs, 46-30.

An 8-2 rally by the Bulldogs at the end of the first set pushed momentum in the Bulldogs corner as they stood firm against the North Dakota attack.

Lydia Rutten accounted for seven kills and four blocks in the match, including two solo stops while Brueggeman tallied nine kills and a .529 hitting percentage.

Bryant's Caroline Kennedy and Emma McGovern combined for 21 kills on the night.