Denver rolls to volleyball sweep of UND

UND's Lydia Rutten (8) and Taylor Riedl block a shot by Denver's Kalea Fobert Tuesday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

A rare Tuesday afternoon college volleyball game wasn't enough to throw off perennial Summit League power Denver.

In a makeup game from a weather-related cancellation, Denver used Lydia Bartalo's 10 kills in sweeping UND 25-22, 25-18, 25-22 at Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

"Denver's a really solid team," UND first-year coach Jeremiah Tiffin said. "They're well-rounded, and they play low error."


Denver won its fourth-straight match to improve to 14-6 overall and 6-2 in the Summit. The Pioneers came into the day in third place in the league.

UND, meanwhile, sits in sixth. Six teams make the Summit tournament, which is played at the site of the previous season's champion, which is Denver. The Fighting Hawks dropped to 2-6 in the league and 10-12 overall.

UND starting setter Peyton Sewell returned to the lineup for the first time since being injured Oct. 6. Sewell, a freshman from Belvidere, Ill., ended with 23 assists and three kills.

"I thought Payton overall did a good job," Tiffin said. "Defensively, she didn't do as well as I had hoped. I wonder if she's still a little gun-shy after getting hit in the face (Oct. 6). Offensively, though, she was leading our hitters and letting them explode to the ball. It was good to have that dynamic back. We'll look at the film and see what we want to do going ahead."

UND was led by six kills apiece from Lydia Rutten, Sara Antic and Ashley Brueggeman.

"I thought the game came down to a couple of plays in each set," Tiffin said. "Their experience showed up and our inexperience did, as well."


Denver was led by Bartalo, who had a team-high 16 digs to go with her offense. Tina Boe and Amanda Green each added nine kills for the Pioneers, who hit .248 compared to UND's .101.

UND hosts Omaha on Saturday at 11 a.m., then Summit-leading South Dakota on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019 and 2022.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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