FARGO — North Dakota State was clutch late in the first two sets and left no doubt in the fourth Tuesday night at Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse.
That formula vaulted the Bison to a 25-23, 25-23, 21-25, 25-14 victory against rival North Dakota in Summit League volleyball before 1,109 fans. NDSU completed a regular-season sweep of the Fighting Hawks with the victory.
"UND was doing some really good things offensively and their attack was pretty solid," NDSU head coach Jennifer Lopez said. "We had to fight hard to come back in those (first) two sets."
The Bison (12-15, 7-8 SL) clinched the No. 5 seed for the Summit League tournament, which starts Nov. 22. NDSU closes out the regular season at 1 p.m. Sunday against Oral Roberts at Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse. The top six teams in the league make the conference tournament.
"I really like the way we were playing together. Everyone was just vibing off of each other and using the energy around," said Bison middle hitter Emily Halverson. "It was really important to get this W under our belt."
The 6-foot-3 Halverson finished with 13 kills and five blocks. Freshman outsider hitter Syra Tanchin paced the Bison with 17 kills.
"For playing UND, it's a big state match," Tanchin said. "It was a big win for the team."
Bison senior libero Abbi Klos finished with 11 digs to reach a career milestone. The 5-foot-6 Klos recorded her 1,000th career dig during the third set against UND.
"She's been a staple for our program and continues to lead in whatever role that is," Lopez said. "I'm very proud of her and what she's accomplished here."
The Bison raced to a 22-12 lead in the third set and rolled to victory in the fourth-and-deciding set. The 6-foot-1 Tanchin closed out the match with a kill that gave NDSU a 25-15 set victory.
"We were putting things together," Lopez said of that fourth set. "Offensively, our attackers, they found that next level and that next gear."
There was more suspense in the opening two sets.
NDSU rallied for victory in the opening set after UND had built a 22-17 lead on a Taylor Riedl kill. The Bison countered by scoring eight of the next nine points. Halverson sparked the NDSU rally with a block and a kill. Kalli Hegerle and Bella Lien combined on a block to cap the Bison a 25-23 comeback win in the first set.
In the second set, the Bison built a 24-21 lead after a Halverson kill at the middle of the net. The Fighting Hawks rallied for back-to-back points before Halverson added another kill that gave the Bison a 25-23 victory in the second set. Halverson had nine kills on 17 attacks (.529 hitting percentage) through two sets.
"It was just getting one point at a time, really swung the momentum our way," Halverson said.
UND (12-17, 4-11) clawed back into the match with a strong finish to the third set. The Fighting Hawks closed out the set on an 8-2 run. Outside hitter Ashley Brueggeman keyed the run with five kills during that stretch. She capped her hot streak with a kill that gave UND a 25-21 victory in the third set. The 6-foot-2, Brueggeman finished with a match-high 18 kills.
"The biggest thing for us is we continue to learn," Lopez said.
NDSU def. UND 25-23, 25-23, 21-25, 25-15
UND (kills-blocks-aces): Brueggeman 18-2-0, Ahrens 12-1-0, Rutten 11-2-0, Sewell 5-1-1 (41 assists), Nieukirk 4-1-0, Riedl 3-2-0, Chwialkowski 0-0-1, Damon 0-0-0, Antic 0-0-0, Hart 0-0-1.
NDSU: Tanchin 17-1-0, Halverson 13-5-0, Bachmeier 11-0-0, Lien 7-2-3, Mauch 4-0-0, Hegerle 1-5-0 (29 assists), Schmoll 0-0-2, Klos 0-0-1 (11 digs), Hanger 0-0-1 (11 digs), Johnson 0-0-1.