Updated: Nov 1
THE rivalry: the Fighting Hawks came to Fargo to take on the Bison. Even though this wasn’t a conference game, this one was hugely important for both teams. Not only was it the most packed game at the Bunker in a while, but each team needed a win. The Bison are fighting to make the Summit League tourney, and they start a pivotal home stand after this one. Meanwhile UND sits on top of the Big Sky North and has a duel with the top team coming up. And there’s no better springboard than a game vs. the team you love to hate. In the first two sets though, it was the wind underneath the wings of the Fighting Hawks. Julia Kaczorowska was injured this time last year, and you could tell that she’s excited to be back out there. She lead the game in the 1st set with five kills, and she had a block as well. It was tight at the midaway point with the Bison leading 11-8. Then UND got on a huge run to make it 16-11. They would finish off the first with a run as well, winning the opening stanza 25-17. Then in the second set, Faith Dooley introduced herself to the Fargo crowd. Five kills and four blocks in the 2nd set, she absolutely disrupted NDSU. Again, it was the midway point that was the launching pad for UND. The Fighting Hawks scored seven of the final eight points, and handled the Bison 25-19 in the 2nd. Jessica Jorgensen started to get going for the Bison, along with Emily Minnick. But Hadley Steffen had been relatively quiet by her standards.
That changed in the 3rd. This felt like a whole new ballgame. The energy and atmosphere totally changed with the Bison’s backs against the wall, and the Fighting Hawks closing in on the sweep. Every point was an intense volley. Every small victory celebrated as if it were the game winner. It was fun. And NDSU seemed poised to extend the game. Hadley Steffen really got going, and Jorgensen continued to deliver. Monica Claxton and McKenzie Burke provided a great spark of energy for the Bison. NDSU had it in their hands at 24-22. Faith Dooley came through, and kept the Fighting Hawks alive. UND came back at 24, and we had extra volleyball. NDSU got game point again at 26-25, but again the Hawks held on. NDSU got game point at 27-26, and again the Hawks held on. Then at 28-27 UND had a chance to end it, but the Bison wouldn’t quit. All tied at 28, UND turned to their offensive leader. Chelsea Moser put up a kill and a block on back to back opportunities and the game was over. One of the best 3rd sets we’ve ever seen goes the way of the Fighting Hawks, and UND won their first game vs. the Bison with the new logo. It was the early hole forced by UND that powered them to the 3-0 win. The Bison got going, but it was too late.