LCSC volleyball team defeats Shawnee State to advance in NAIA tourney
LEWISTON, Idaho – Sometimes, all it takes is a little nudge to get a message across. Other times, it may take a sterner approach. Lewis-Clark State College volleyball coach Jen Greeny used a bit of both to get her message across to her team and senior middle blocker Austyn Lewis.
After a rough second game, the Warriors responded with two strong sets to defeat Shawnee State 25-20, 20-25, 25-18, 25-16 in the opening round of the NAIA National Volleyball Tournament at the LCSC Activity Center on Saturday night.
With the win, the Warriors, 29-2 overall advance to the 24-team pool play portion of the national tournament, which takes place Dec. 2-6 at Sioux City, Iowa. The tournament seedings and six pool assignments will be announced late Sunday morning.
Shawnee State, which won its first American Mideast Conference Tournament title in school history this season, finishes the year at 38-3.
The Warriors played well in streaks during the first two games, using a .416 hitting percentage and six kills from Anile Clemente and four from Lauryn Herrick to take the opening game. LCSC managed to hit .342 in the second game, but Shawnee State hit .436 and used a couple of small runs late in the game to pull away.
During the 15-minute break between the second and third games, Greeny said she talked to her team about trying to calm down.
“I don’t think we were exactly on top of our game,” Greeny said. “I told them that we had to relax out there. I think they were trying to do too much on the court to win points.”
With Lewis, however, Greeny had a different message. The normally steady senior middle blocker Lewis struggled during the first two games, which saw LCSC collect only one block.
“I almost never yell at Austyn,” Greeny said. “She didn’t have a very good start. But she pulled through at the end. She was dialed in and ready to go.”
While Clemente and Julie Maciboba were their steady selves in collecting 16 kills apiece with great hitting percentages, Lewis came on, especially in the final game, and collected 10 kills, four of which came during a run where LCSC scored 13 of 17 points to turn a 12-9 deficit into a 21-16 lead.
The Warriors also collected eight blocks in the match and held Shawnee State to hitting percentages of .049 and .086 in the final two games, respectively.
“(Assistant coach) Amy Flaig keeps track of hitting and we were trying to stop balls from being hit down the line and they were hitting balls in the middle, which we are not used to in our conference,” Greeny said. “We kept moving the block inside more and more. Once we adapted, our defense played well.”
Maciboba hit .500 for the match and also added a match-high 3.5 blocks along with a service ace. Lewis hit .381, while Clemente hit .342 with 12 digs.
“We wanted to come together in the last game and win it for the seniors,” Clemente said. “We needed to come up and play like a national team with no regrets.”
Lindsay Scott led the Warriors with 15 digs and two service aces.
Becca Day and Heather Koehler had 16 kills apiece for Shawnee State, while Haley Halcomb had 50 assists.
Here are the opening rounds results as well as the 12 teams that received byes, who will join the 12 winners in Sioux City.
The following teams received an opening round bye: Azusa Pacific (Calif.), Bellevue (Neb.), Biola (Calif.), California Baptist (Calif.), Columbia (Mo.), Concordia (Calif.), Fresno Pacific (Calif.), Georgetown (Ky.), Lindenwood (Mo.), Madonna (Mich.), Morningside (Iowa) and Northwestern (Iowa).