UND Wins Great West Volleyball TournamentSioux finish 22-6 in first year under Hardee
By: Ryan Powell, UND
Houston, Texas – Like most teams, three simple letters have been the motto of the University of North Dakota Volleyball team since the season began – W.I.N. However, unlike most teams, the Fighting Sioux (22-6) will be one of the few in Division I to win their last match of the season.
UND accomplished that by taking the Great West Conference Tournament title with a four-set victory over Utah Valley (22-10) at Sharp Gym on the campus of Houston Baptist.
In one of the more fitting ways to end the match, senior Megan Langseth (Alexandria, Minn.) set up classmate Britta Hanson (Thompson, N.D.) one last time as the 6-foot-2 middle blocker hammered home the final point of their careers.
Hanson’s seventh kill of the match gave the Sioux a 25-18 victory in the fourth set as top-seeded UND won its 12th straight match since falling to this same Wolverine team on Oct. 1 in Orem, Utah.
“This has been a tremendous year and to cap it off with a conference tournament title is fantastic,” UND head coach Ashley Hardee said. “I cannot say enough about what this means to these players and this program.”
Langseth earned Tournament MVP honors after doling out 38 assists in the championship match as the Sioux reeled off 48 kills compared to 45 for the Wolverines. Sophomores Annika Smed (Albert Lea, Minn.) and Devin Trefz (Bagley, Minn.) each had 14 kills to pace UND. With her 38 assists, Langseth posted 1,000 in a season for the second straight year (1,023).
The Sioux defense was just as instrumental in the victory as Hanson had nine total blocks to lead UND to a season-high 19 in the contest. Fellow senior Amanda Polzin (Hutchinson, Minn.) equaled her career-high with seven block assists and added five kills to earn a spot on the all-tournament team.
“Our blocking was big time today,” Hardee added. “That was one of the keys to the match, plus the play of our four seniors. They would not let us lose today and that was their mentality all season.”
Joining Langseth and Polzin on the all-tournament team was senior libero Lindsay Vortherms (Windom, Minn.). The all-time dig leader in UND history registered a match-high 27 as three Sioux players finished with double-figure dig totals. Smed had 16 to go with her 14 kills to post her 10th double-double of the season. Sophomore Taylor Bohannon (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) added 10 digs.
UND won the first two sets 25-21 and 25-17 before UVU bounced back to win the third set, 25-23. The teams went back-and-forth in the opening set as there were three lead changes and 11 ties before the Sioux took control late.
The second set was much easier for UND as after falling behind 1-0, the Sioux regained the lead and never trailed again. Trefz had six of her 14 kills in that second set.
The third set began much like the first with the teams exchanging leads, but a kill by Broadbent to even things 10-10 sparked a 7-2 run for the Wolverines. UVU would go on to win the set 25-23 after trying to let the Sioux get back into it.
The Sioux needed to get out to a nice start in the fourth set and they did just that jumping out to a 6-2 advantage. UVU fought back to square the set at 8-8, but UND would respond as Smed served out five straight points to give the Sioux a nice cushion.
The Wolverines could not get any closer than five points the rest of the way. Hanson and Langseth teamed together for a block assist to make the score 24-17 and the senior duo finished things off as Hanson sent home the final point with a strong right-handed attack.
Match Notes: UND concludes the season and Hardee’s first in charge of the program with a 12-match winning streak and the first regular season and conference tournament titles in program history ... Hanson’s nine blocks moved her into third place on the single season charts as she finished the campaign with 145 total blocks ... Hanson finished one block assist shy of setting the single season mark in that category with 130 ... She is second all-time in that category with 372 for her career … Langseth’s 1,023 assists gave her 2,952 for her career, which is fourth place on the UND charts ... Vortherms 27 digs give her 488 for the season (fifth best single-season total) … She finishes her UND career with the all-time lead in that category with 1,749 … Smed was the only Sioux to finish the campaign with 300 kills (308) and 300 digs (345) and led the team with her 10 double-doubles.