GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Southern Utah University women's volleyball punctuated its season on Saturday night, falling to the University of North Dakota in three sets, 25-13, 25-16, 25-12. The result gives the Thunderbirds an overall record of 4-27 on the year and a 3-17 mark in the Big Sky Conference.
UND put the first points on the board in the opening set and later used a four-point run to take a 7-2 lead. The margin grew to double digits at 16-6 before four straight points by the Thunderbirds cut the gap to six points at 16-10. However, UND was able to answered with a four-point run of its own, taking a 20-10 lead, and later finished the set with back-to-back points for the 25-13 win.
Southern Utah had its first lead of the match in the second set, taking back-to-back points off UND errors. North Dakota came back with a 5-1 run to take a 5-3 lead, but the Thunderbirds kept pace and tied the set at 6-6 on a Taylor Heine/Alissa Youart block. UND broke the deadlock with two points, but couldn't quite break the match open as another Heine block put the match within one at 9-8. Southern Utah eventually fell behind on a three- and five-point run by UND as the home side took the set 25-16.
SUU started the third set in a hole as UND built a 7-1 lead out of the intermission. A Lusia Angilau block ended the run and began a four-point push by the Thunderbirds, cutting the margin to two, 7-5. The T-Birds kept within two at 8-6 and 9-7, but fell behind by double digits as UND went on an 11-2 run to take a 20-9 lead. A closing kill wrapped up the match 25-12.
The Thunderbirds finished the match hitting -.028 and were held without a double-digit attacker. Freshman Sariah Pelaez recorded a match-high 16 digs and Heine finished the night with a team-high five blocks (1 BS, 4 BA, 2 BE). UND finished the match with a .232 hitting percentage and were paced by Ellen Krueger and Anna Pioske with 11 kills apiece. Pioske also led North Dakota with 13 digs.