THOMPSON, N.D.—Nine possessions, nine touchdowns and a large dose of payback. That summarizes the Thompson Tommies football team's highlights Saturday in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota state 9-man playoffs. The 9-0 and No. 1-ranked 9-man team in the state spanked the defending state champion Richland Colts 66-19. The Tommies were Richland's victims in last year's playoff quarterfinals, falling by 16 points.
Neither fans sporting a sea of pink t-shirts in the bleachers nor Lucky Sugar Beet II could stop Grand Forks Red River's volleyball dominance over crosstown rival and host GF Central Tuesday. Red River swept 25-13, 25-11 and 25-15, extending its winning streak against the Knights, whose last win in the rivalry came in 1996, before any of the Tuesday competitors were born. "We have to be pumped because it's our cross-town rival and we know they're out to beat us," said Red River junior Maggie Steffen, who had a team-high 11 kills.
As UND's setter, Sydney Griffin's main job description is to distribute the volleyball where her teammates can power the ball onto the floor. Occasionally, however, the 5-foot-11 junior's role is to be a sneak, deploying the equivalent of baseball's changeup. "I call it a dump," she said, of her infrequent-but-highly-successful, flat-footed tips over the opponents at the net, who often are flat-footed in anticipation of incoming power from the hitters.
UND volleyball coach Mark Pryor will be scurrying to the videotape and to the archives to confirm that his team set a school record for hitting accuracy Thursday. The stats' sheet said that the Fighting Hawks had only four hitting errors out of 95 attacks in a 25-17, 25-11, 25-12 rout of Montana State in Big Sky Conference play at The Betty. "Only four hitting errors, even in only three sets, is unheard of," Pryor said. "We were able to be aggressive but still stay in control with our attacks."
Initially, UND volleyball coach Mark Pryor had a succinct answer when asked why Faith Dooley was so successful Saturday with her blocking at the net: "She's 6-foot-3," he said. The junior from Wheatland, N.D., had 10 blocks, seven of them solo efforts, as the Fighting Hawks defeated Portland (Ore.) State 25-19, 25-19, 23-25, 25-18 In Big Sky Conference play at The Betty. Behind winning six of their last seven outings, UND is 13-8 overall and 5-1 in the Big Sky, in first place in the North Division standings.
Tamara Merseli's kill provided the game-winner, but freshman Ashley Brueggeman played a major role in getting North Dakota in position to defeat Sacramento State in a battle of Big Sky Conference volleyball powers Thursday at The Betty. Merseli's kill capped a 22-25, 25-21, 25-15, 20-25, 15-13 marathon to hand Sacramento its first conference loss. The Fighting Hawks improved its record to 12-8 overall and 4-1 in the conference while Sacramento fell to 10-9 and 4-1.
CLIMAX, Minn.—Polk County West's embarrassment of riches at running back became even more garish Friday.
THOMPSON, N.D.—"Changing the culture" is a new-age, buzz-word mantra about improving the mindset, especially when it comes to the workplace. The concept is not only championed in offices. Among the successful culture-changers are the Thompson Tommies football players. So says Cole Sorby, a junior tight end/defensive end who lives in trenches on Friday nights.
By NCAA Division I volleyball standards, 5-foot-10 Tamara Merseli is a relative shrimp for a hitter. However, the UND junior did more than hold her own at the net—and elsewhere—as the Fighting Hawks opened their Big Sky Conference schedule Thursday at The Betty with a decisive 3-0 win over Southern Utah. Merseli, a junior college transfer, led UND in kills (10), attacks (28) and digs (18) in the 25-16, 25-17, 25-17 rout of the Thunderbirds. She's the only Fighting Hawk who plays both the front row and back row, solid proof of her athleticism and skills.
MAYVILLE, N.D.—Both sides agreed that turnovers and placekicking were the key factors in Wisconsin-Stout's 23-13 non-conference college football victory over Mayville State on Saturday. While their yardage was basically a dead heat, the Comets had five turnovers while Stout had two. And the winners also had strong-legged placekicker Drew Pearson, who made three field goals of 42 yards and more and also hit both extra-point kicks.