Warriors roll to pair of 3-0 sweeps at LCSC Invitational
LEWISTON, Idaho – With the exception of one small blip, it was business as usual for the Lewis-Clark State College women’s volleyball team as the Warriors rolled to a pair of victories during the second day of the LCSC Invitational on Friday.
The Warriors swept Northwest Christian College of Eugene, Ore., 25-9, 25-11, 25-10 and Northwest University of Kirkland, Wash., 25-8, 26-24, 25-11 to stand at 3-0 both on the season and in the six-team round robin tournament. LCSC has won all three matches in straight games by an average score of 25-12.
LCSC, ranked No. 15 in the NAIA preseason poll, will wrap up the tournament at 3 p.m. on Saturday against Warner Pacific. Because all six teams don’t play each other, or the same amount of matches, a tournament champion will not be crowned.
Both LCSC and fellow Frontier Conference power Carroll College have dominated the first two days. Carroll defeated Walla Walla University 25-13, 25-15, 25-12, and Warner Pacific 25-13, 25-21, 25-22 to stand 2-0 in the tournament and 6-0 on the season. Because LCSC and Carroll meet twice during the regular season, they won’t play in this tournament.
In Friday’s other matches, Warner Pacific defeated Walla Walla 25-18, 25-20, 25-15, while Northwest University defeated Northwest Christian 25-18, 25-22, 25-19. Warner Pacific and Northwest University are both 1-1 in tournament play, while Northwest Christian is 0-2. Walla Walla University finished the tourney at 0-3.
Four matches are on tap Saturday with Warner Pacific and Northwest Christian meeting at 9 a.m., followed by Carroll and Northwest Christian at 11 a.m. Carroll then faces Northwest University at 1 p.m., followed by LCSC’s final match.
LCSC continued its strong play Friday, both offensively and defensively, by controlling the net and out-digging its opponents.
“I was impressed with our block today and I really thought offensively, people did some really good things, especially in the first match,” Warrior coach Jen Greeny said. “I really like our defense. Hopefully people will see that this is a different team than what they were used to seeing last year. I like the way we fly around out there.”
In the first match against Northwest Christian, the Warriors jumped out to leads of 15-3 in the first game, 17-9 in the second game, and 13-3 in the third contest. The most impressive game was the second one because LCSC actually trailed 6-4 and led only 10-8, but scored 15 of the final 17 points for the win.
A key stat was LCSC had nine blocks in the contest, compared to one for the Beacons.
The Warriors had five players will double-digit kill attempts, but only junior Nicole Graybeal reached double-digits in kills with 10. Lauryn Herrick and Kelli Tikker, both juniors, added eight apiece, while senior Jenika Bird-Jeppson added seven.
Senior Katie Hinrichs had a team-high 16 digs and two service aces, while true freshmen Chelsea Shears and Kelsey Williams also had two service aces apiece. Graybeal finished with three blocks, while Tikker was at 2.5 along with eight digs.
The Warriors also rolled big early against Northwest University, taking leads of 13-3, 12-4, and 16-6 in each game, respectively.
The second game, however, turned out to be rather interesting. The Warriors led 23-13 and had several younger players on the court when Northwest Christian rallied and managed to score the next 11 points. Greeny called two time outs during the run and made a couple of substitutions, but her goal was to have those players work through it, rather than do wholesale substitutions and put all the starters back in.
Facing game point, the Warriors did rally and scored three consecutive points, including one on a kill by Herrick, to claim the win.
“That’s what the pre (conference) season is all about,” Greeny said. “They have to be able to work through those things. It was great to see them in a pressure situation like that because you can’t create those things in practice.”
Herrick, a second-team all-conference pick last year, led the Warriors with 15 kills, while Tikker had 12 and Graybeal eight. Herrick also had three of the team’s seven service aces.
Hinrichs finished with 18 digs, while Tikker had nine. Deddiy Alaimaleata had three blocks, while Kim Fong had 36 assists and eight digs. Shears also had eight digs.
After its three matches, LCSC is hitting .362 as a team, compared to .022 for opponents. LCSC also had outblocked the opposition 21-12 and is averaging better than four more digs per game.