Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department for the past 13 years. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate.
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Sydney Griffin, UND volleyball senior and defending Big Sky Conference Most Valuable Player, walked into the school's football game at the Alerus Center last Saturday after the volleyball team's final regular-season match at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. She was greeted with a surprising reminder of volleyball's new status in Grand Forks. "It's amazing; everyone knows who we are," Griffin said. "(Fans) asked how the game went and how we're doing. They're really informed."
With the UND football team having a bye during the final week of the regular season, the Fighting Hawks now turn the page to 2018 sooner than most. Although the Fighting Hawks finished a disappointing 3-8, despite starting the season as a national contender, coach Bubba Schweigert said on Monday he doesn't plan to make any coaching changes. "I love our staff," Schweigert said. "We work hard, and they're committed to being here at UND." On Sunday, UND's staff and players met to thank the seniors of 2017 and talk about expectations for the offseason.
When Colton Poolman scored in the middle of the second period to kickstart UND's comeback in a 3-3 tie with Miami on Saturday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena, the in-house announcer read the goal as scored by Colton's brother Tucker Poolman. "That was tough," Colton said. "I just kind of put my head down and laughed a little bit. It was kind of funny." Living in the shadows of an NHL defenseman brother can be rough, but Colton's making a name for himself in Grand Forks this season.
With the UND football team making a comeback in the fourth quarter, quarterback Keaton Studsrud hit wide receiver Stetson Carr on a slant pattern near the 10-yard line. As Carr reached the 5, he leaped toward the end zone with the ball outstretched. Just before he crossed the goal line, though, Eastern Washington punched the ball loose and the Eagles recovered. A promising situation, disastrous results. That was the 2017 UND football season in a nutshell.
If anyone can understand what UND goalie Peter Thome, who led the Fighting Hawks to a 4-1 win over Miami on Friday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena, is going through right now it’s goalie coach Matt Hrynkiw. Two seasons ago, en route to UND’s national championship, Hrynkiw was thrust into the spotlight when Cam Johnson went down with an injury in the team’s third game of the season. Hrynkiw made the next 11 starts and steadied the ship early in the season.
Sidney Mattson has been a setter for the UND volleyball team for three years. She had never started, though, playing behind 2016 Big Sky Conference Most Valuable Player Sydney Griffin. Mattson got her chance Thursday night when coach Mark Pryor sat Griffin, a senior who has a lower-body injury but is expected back for the conference tournament if not sooner. Mattson made the most of it. She handed out 35 assists as UND cruised to a 25-20, 25-17, 25-19 win over Northern Arizona in front of 1,024 at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.
It only took a couple of dominoes to fall in order to take the Northland Community & Technical College football program in Thief River Falls from being eliminated in 2014 to becoming the best passing offense in the country in 2017. Second-year Northland coach Jim Cox recruited quarterback Shannon Patrick. Patrick, in turn, recruited wide receiver Malik Williams.
UND men's basketball coach Brian Jones woke up to tropical weather Wednesday in Hawaii, where his team starts the Outriggers Resort Rainbow Classic on Friday. His day only got better from there. The Fighting Hawks received a National Letter of Intent on Wednesday from Jal Bijiek, a 6-foot-9, 190-pound forward who held scholarship offers from Oklahoma, LSU, Wichita State and Texas Tech, among others. Despite Bijiek's unique decision to spurn offers from high major programs, Jones said he wasn't worried about his potential star being poached as signing day neared.
The UND search committee, charged with helping to find the school’s next athletic director, met for the first time Monday afternoon. Thirteen members of the committee met in person in the UND Tech Accelerator building, while two members and a consultant joined via conference call. Brian Faison, UND’s current athletic director, will retire Dec. 31 and stay on as a consultant for the department through the end of June.
When the UND football coaching staff found out Eastern Washington quarterback Gage Gubrud was going to be suspended for Saturday’s 1 p.m. matchup at the Alerus Center, the guessing game began. “It sure has us wondering what we’re going to see,” UND coach Bubba Schweigert said. “He’s a very good player. He’s a top guy. Not just in our league, but in the country. You always want to challenge yourself to play those guys, but how does that change their attack? I don’t know, I guess we’ll know Saturday.”