Oral Roberts rallies to defeat UND in four sets

TULSA, Okla. (UND ATHLETICS) – The University of North Dakota volleyball team fell, 3-1 (18-25, 25-15, 25-20, 25-17) to Oral Roberts on Friday evening in Tulsa, Okla.

UND (13-13, 5-5 Summit League) captured the opening set, but fell victim to a hot offensive night by the Golden Eagles (7-13, 4-4 Summit League) as the hosts hit .263 throughout the match in the victory.

Making her return from injury, Ashley Brueggeman led the Fighting Hawks with 14 kills and hit above the .200 mark for the 16th time this season. The junior also added a pair of block assists, digs, and an assist for UND.

Jordan Vail joined her teammate as the only other Hawk to reach double figures in kills with a 13-kill evening. The senior led the team with four block assists while also hitting .258 in the contest.

Darian Chwialkowski just missed a double-digit kill effort with nine, but reached double figures in digs for the third straight contest with 13. The true freshman chipped in a block and an assist for another solid performance from the rookie.

Alivia Fraase was strong on the backline for the Fighting Hawks again, finishing second on the team with 19 digs while also adding a kill.

Taliyah Flores, who was named Summit League Defensive Player of the Week for the third time this season on Monday, led the visitors with 23 digs for her 21st match with at least 10 digs and her 10th time recording 20-or-more.

The conference’s leader in total assists, Roosa Rautio dished out 46 helpers in the defeat for her seventh 40+ performance over the last 13 matches. The freshman also added eight digs, a block assist, a kill, and a service ace.

The Fighting Hawks got out to a hot start to open the match, scoring four of the frame’s first five points. Vail was a force to start for UND, tallying a pair of kills and teaming up with Chwialkowski for a double block. Oral Roberts climbed back into the match, however, tying the score at five before the sides exchanged points for a majority of the stanza.

Trailing 15-14, the visitors erupted on a 6-0 spurt to quickly turn the one-point deficit into a 20-15 lead. It was a block party for the Hawks during the run, securing double blocks on back-to-back points from Vail, Rautio, and Williams. Vail, Williams, and Fraase also added kills in the run to spark UND.

The Golden Eagles tried to rally with two straight points, but UND answered with five of the next six to pick up a 25-18 victory in the opening set and a 1-0 match lead. The Hawks received kills from Vail, Williams, and Rutten as well as a service ace from Rautio to polish off the win.

Oral Roberts took control in the second set, breaking open the set in the middle portion of the frame to open up an 18-10 advantage. The hosts continued to hold the lead for the remainder of the set to level the match at 1-1 with a 25-15 victory. The Golden Eagles hit .267 during that second set while forcing six UND attack errors.

The third set followed much more of an ebb-and-flow pace as neither side could create separation from the other with the frame deadlocked at nine.

ORU created the first run of the stanza, scoring three straight points thanks to a kill, service ace, and an attack error by UND to move ahead 12-9 and force a timeout by the Hawks.

UND answered the run with a trio of points of its own thanks to a kill from Brueggeman, an error by ORU, and a Rutten service ace to quickly tie the score at 12. After both sides continued to trade points, the Golden Eagles pulled ahead again with a run to take a 20-17 lead and force a timeout by the visitors.

Out of the timeout, the Hawks tried to chip away at the deficit, but the Golden Eagles held on for a 25-20 set win and a 2-1 lead in the match.

Oral Roberts rode the momentum of the victory in back-to-back sets by jumping out to a quick lead in the fourth, forcing a UND timeout after building a 7-3 advantage.

UND would not go away quietly, however, roaring back with five straight points to trim a 12-6 deficit down to just 12-11 and force pressure on the hosts. The Hawks continued to keep the pressure on, remaining within a striking distance for a majority of the set before ORU grabbed a 20-17 lead and forced a UND timeout.

The Fighting Hawks were unable to overcome the deficit as Oral Roberts held on for the 25-17 victory and a 3-1 triumph in the match.

North Dakota returns to action on Sunday afternoon against Denver at 2 p.m. from the Mile High City.