The two teams were back-and-forth in the opening set, swapping five leads and battling through 10 ties. North Dakota broke the final 13-13 deadlock with a four-point push to take a 17-13 lead and force a Southern Utah timeout. SUU freshman Ann Clappier recorded a kill on the ensuing rally and a UND error on the next point cut the margin to two, 17-15. However, it was as close as the T-Birds came down the stretch, falling in the first set 25-17.
North Dakota scored the first points of the second set and rolled to a 21-9 lead before Southern Utah found its groove. The Thunderbirds ripped off a 5-1 run to notch double digits at 22-14, but UND answered with a three-point run to close out the set 25-14.
SUU opened the third set with an Annie Stradling kill, but North Dakota came back with two straight points to take the lead 2-1. Neither team had much of an advantage leading to an 8-8 tie, but it was then that UND went on a three-point run to take an 11-8 lead and the visitors never looked back. North Dakota had its first match point at 24-16, but two attacking errors extended the match to 24-18 before a final kill punctuated the match 25-18.
Kyle Schofield was the only attacker with double-digit kills, logging a match-best 10. Defensively, Sariah Pelaez led the team with 13 digs and Taylor Heine and Clappier led the block with three apiece.
Southern Utah will return to the court on Saturday night, hosting Northern Colorado at 7:00 p.m. Live stat and live video links for the match will be available online at www.suutbirds.com.