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Hawks fall 3-0 to Denver in Summit League volleyball

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Fighting Hawks middle hitter Maddie Lipetzky, center right, slams the ball past Denver blocker Brianna Green, center left, during a Summit League volleyball match at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center in Grand Forks on Thursday, November 10, 2022.
Photo courtesy Russell Hons / UND Athletics
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GRAND FORKS – UND won five of its first six Summit League volleyball matches this season. Looking back, that stretch of the season helped launch the Fighting Hawks into the upcoming postseason tournament.

And it gave UND a late-season cushion in the Summit. So, UND’s 3-0 loss to Denver on Thursday night at The Betty didn’t sting as much as the top six teams in the league now are playing for seeding purposes.

UND will make the six-team tournament, but the Hawks know their performance against Denver likely won’t cut it in postseason play.

Denver won 25-22, 27-25, 25-17, turning the match in its favor with a big rally late in the second set. UND led 24-21 and 25-24, but couldn’t close the deal.

“We weren’t at our best,” said UND coach Jesse Tupac. “We had 25 attack errors and nine service errors. That’s a lot of points to give to your opponent in three sets. Give credit to Denver for making us uncomfortable and putting us in some really tough spots.”

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UND dropped to 9-6 in the league and 12-14 overall while Denver improved to 11-5 and 17-10.

The Hawks, with a hitting percentage of .060, were led by Ashlyn Olson’s nine kills while Paige Barber had eight. Denver, with a .252 hitting percentage, was led by Jordan Lockwood’s 13 kills.

“We know there is better volleyball in us and we’re excited to get another chance at these teams in the Summit tournament,” said Tupac. “If it’s 25-27 and 22-25 we’re definitely in those matches even when we’re not playing our best.”

Regardless of its loss to Denver, it’s been a good week for the Hawks, who announced their 2023 recruiting class on Wednesday, one that includes two players from the Canadian youth national team.

The Hawks will bring in Canadian national players Olivia Edlund and Lauren Perugini in addition Trinity Blackwood from Wylie, Texas, and Skylar Darr from Temecula, Calif.

Edlund is a 6-foot-2 outside hitter from Barnwell, Alberta; Perugini is a 5-11 outside hitter from Mississauga, Ontario; Blackwood is a 6-4 middle blocker; and Darr is a 5-5 libero.

“We went all over the country and all over the continent to find these athletes,” said Tupac. “This class has more length than the average class. They’re pretty long, talented and they’ve been playing at a high level for a long time.”

UND will host Omaha on Saturday at 11 a.m.

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Related Topics: UND VOLLEYBALL
Wayne Nelson is the sports editor at the Herald.


He has been with the Grand Forks Herald since 1995, serving as the UND football and basketball beat writer as well as serving as the sports editor.



He is a UND graduate and has been writing sports since the late 1970s.



Follow him on Twitter @waynenelsongf. You can reach him at (701) 780-1268 or wnelson@gfherald.com.
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