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UND volleyball wins 18th straight at home with sweep of Idaho State

The UND volleyball team defended a lengthy home winning streak with some stingy defense. Faith Dooley's 10 blocks paced the Fighting Hawks' defense, which sparked a 25-22, 27-25, 25-16 sweep of Idaho State in Big Sky Conference play on Thursday n...

UND's Faith Dooley and Ashley Brueggeman celebrate a point against Idaho State Thursday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
UND's Faith Dooley and Ashley Brueggeman celebrate a point against Idaho State Thursday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

The UND volleyball team defended a lengthy home winning streak with some stingy defense.

Faith Dooley's 10 blocks paced the Fighting Hawks' defense, which sparked a 25-22, 27-25, 25-16 sweep of Idaho State in Big Sky Conference play on Thursday night in front of 1,937 fans at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

UND stretched its home winning streak to 18 straight.

"I feel like we really dug in on defense," said UND's Jordan Vail, who led the offense with 13 kills. "We worked on it all week in practice and it was a lot of fun to see it clicking in the game."

Idaho State, which dropped to 8-14 overall and 5-4 in the Big Sky, hit just .041.

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"If you hold a team to that low of a percentage, we're going to be good," said UND coach Mark Pryor, whose team improved to 22-4 and 7-2 Big Sky.

Dooley, UND's career blocks leader, paced UND again with a double-double with 10 kills. Tamara Merseli added 10 kills and 14 digs.

Pryor said he wasn't particularly pleased with UND's first two sets. The Fighting Hawks trailed early in the second set before calling a timeout and regrouping.

"He told us to dig in and it's not over until we get to 25," Vail said. "We took it and ran with it. We got back to the basics and fundamentals and went from there."

Vail, a 6-foot-1 junior from San Antonio, was originally recruited to Baylor by Pryor before transferring to Grand Forks when Pryor took over with the Fighting Hawks.

"She's becoming the kid I knew she could be when she was 14," Pryor said. "She has more to do, and she knows that. When she goes up and follows directions, she's outstanding."

UND hasn't dropped a set at home all season and has now won 35 straight sets at the Betty. As the winning has grown, so has UND's fan following.

"Everyone loves a winner," Pryor said. "I think people see and appreciate that we really fight hard. It makes it easier for people to root for us. We're grateful for that fan base, but we're trying to make sure we give them something to root for."

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

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, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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