NCAA volleyball: North Dakota now 18-2, big match-ups set for Friday

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North Dakota's Jordan Vail attacks against Idaho/Russ Hons photo

North Dakota volleyball won again Thursday night and the Fighting Hawks are 18-2.

In the ACC, Syracuse got a road victory at Duke and Boise did the same at New Mexico in the Mountain West.

Things really heat up Friday with some key conference battles on a busy schedule.

In the SEC, top-ranked Florida is home to Tennessee.

In the Big Ten, the big one is No. 3 Minnesota at No. 8 Nebraska, No. 3 Penn State plays host to Illinois, No. 7 Wisconsin is at Iowa, No. 16 Michigan State — coming off those victories at Wisconsin and Minnesota — is home for Maryland, and No. 23 Michigan plays host to Ohio State.

The Big 12 has No. 18 Iowa State, coming off that tough five-set loss at No. 11 Kansas, playing at Texas Tech.

The Pac-12 slate shows No. 2 Stanford at home for Arizona, and two other battles featuring ranked teams, No. 7 Washington at No. 13 UCLA and No. 12 Oregon at No. 15 Utah.

The ACC has No. 21 Florida State at Louisville. Miami (8-0), one of three unbeatens left in the nation, is at Notre Dame.

No. 25 Wichita State has its American Athletic Conference home opener when USF (South Florida) visits.

The other two unbeatens, both in the Colonial Athletic Association, are also in action Friday. Towson (16-0) is home for Hofstra, while JMU (11-0) is home for UNCW (North Carolina-Wilmington).

VolleyballMag.com has all the TV and streaming listings every day for every match that is being shown.

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North Dakota’s Ashley Brueggeman hits against Idaho/Russ Hons photo

North Dakota keeps rolling: Senior Tamara Merseli had 14 kills and 10 digs in a 25-22, 25-18, 25-21 sweep of visiting Idaho, 3-0. UND won its 16th consecutive home match and is 3-0 in the Big Sky.

Faith Dooley added 12 kills while hitting .550 and Ashley Brueggeman had 10 and hit .350.

“Getting a home win is nice. Getting it in three is really nice,” UND coach Mark Pryor said. “We won today in a very different way than we usually do. We out-slugged them on offense. I’m really pleased with our offensive numbers, but I’m genuinely concerned long term if we can’t slow teams down.

“You can be a good team with one or the other. To be great, you better have both. We have the potential, but we that potential needs to come together sooner rather than later.”

North Dakota has won 29 sets in a row at home.

Idaho (7-1, 2-1) got nine kills from Kaela Straw.

Big win for Syracuse: The Orange got one on the road, winning 25-17, 25-18, 22-25, 25-17 at Duke. It left Syracuse 10-6, 2-1 in the ACC, while Duke fell to 10-4, 2-1.

Anastasiya Gorelina and Ella Saada had 15 kills, while Santita Ebangwese added 10 kills with 10 blocks. Gorelina had 10 digs and two aces.

“The girls did a great job at executing the game plan tonight,” Syracuse coach Leonid Yelin said. “After dropping the third set, we showed a lot of composure to finish off the match in the fourth in front of a big Duke crowd.”

Duke got 13 kills from Paylon Schwantz and 12 from Cadie Bates, who had 16 digs.

“We didn’t do what we needed to do to stop them,” Duke coach Jolene Nagel said. “They’re a big team. They’ve got some strong hitters. We served a little bit too easy tonight to take them out of that. We also were not at the level we need to be to compete. There are things we needed to do better to counteract their size.”

Gonzaga gets WCC win: No. 9 BYU plays at No. 17 San Diego on Saturday in the West Coast Conference showdown of the week, but Gonzaga joined them at 3-0 atop the league with a 25-19, 24-26, 25-18, 18-25, 16-14 victory at Santa Clara.

The Zags (8-7 overall, 3-0 WCC) won their third five-set match in a row as Sarah Penner had 15 kills.

“This team doesn’t give up,” Gonzaga coach Diane Nelson said. “Someone always steps up and makes a play they weren’t making earlier, and that triggers a domino effect. We happened to get three of those in a row at the end.”

Also in the WCC, Pepperdine beat visiting Pacific in four, Loyola Marymount held off Saint Mary’s in five, and Portland won in five at San Francisco.

Around the nation: CSU Bakersfield got to 9-8, 3-0 in the Western Athletic Conference with a sweep of Seattle as Briannah Mariner had 13 kills and two blocks … Boise State is still without kills leader Sierra Nobley but keeps on rolling. The Broncos are 10-5 overall, 3-0 in the Mountain West. Utah State (11-4) is also 3-0 in the MW after winning in four at UNLV. Lauren Anderson had 16 kills, 13 digs and five block.

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