Warriors go 1-1 on final day of tournament
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Lewis-Clark State College women’s volleyball team learned first-hand on Saturday that momentum is a two-way street. The Warriors first enjoyed a comeback win against No. 21-ranked Madonna University 22-25, 25-27, 27-25, 25-22, 15-12, but then wasted an early lead and was upset by Oklahoma Baptist University 16-25, 25-19, 18-25, 25-15, 15-9 later in the day.
The Warriors, ranked No. 15 in the NAIA, are now 8-1 following a 3-1 performance during the Embry-Riddle Labor Day Tournament.
After struggling to find a rhythm and dropping the first set against Madonna, the Warriors fought to a 25-24 advantage in set two only to lose the next three volleys and fall into a 2-0 hole. The third set was just as close as the second, but this time the Crusaders held a 25-24 lead. One point away from defeat, the Warriors came up with three straight blocks to clinch the set.
“The first two sets were close,” Greeny said. “We made some mental errors at the wrong time. We just needed to get over the hump in the third set.”
Thanks to strong defensive play and the change in momentum, Lewis-Clark State outpaced the Crusaders down the stretch in sets four and five to earn the win.
“It was a great comeback,” LCSC coach Jen Greeny said. “This is something you definitely like to work through in the pre (conference) season.”
While the hitting percentages of both teams were practically identical (.165 for LCSC and .164 for Madonna), the Warriors had an edge at the net and the service line. LCSC out-blocked Madonna 17-10, and had an 11-5 advantage in aces.
Nicole Graybeal led the Warriors with 10 block assists and one solo block, Lauryn Herrick led with four aces, and Deddiy Alaimaleata had a team-high 14 kills and a .423 hitting percentage.
Madonna, which falls to 3-4 on the year, was led by Karie Altman who collected 24 kills and a hitting percentage of .356.
Against Oklahoma Baptist, the Warriors jumped off to a much better start and pounded their opponent in sets one and three. However, LCSC’s lead lasted just about as long as Madonna’s did as Oklahoma Baptist stormed back in the final two sets.
Kelli Tikker’s 15 kills and Kim Fong’s 46 assists without a ball handling error helped the Warriors hold the lead after three sets, but unforced errors and the strong play of Oklahoma Baptist’s Rupia Inck was enough to turn the tide.
“It’s definitely a game of momentum,” Greeny said. “They served really tough and she (Inck) took it to us in the fourth game and we didn’t rebound very well.”
Inck finished with 23 kills, a .404 hitting percentage, and 21 digs.
Both teams hit .205 overall, but the Bisons had an 8-7 edge in blocks and a 7-6 lead in service aces. Probably of more importance, however, is the fact that the Warriors had 10 service errors, while Oklahoma Baptist had only five.
Oklahoma Baptist, which defeated Madonna 3-1 earlier in the day, is now 4-3 overall.
“We gave them too many points off of our unforced errors, and you just can’t do that against a good team,” Greeny said. “We need to take better care of the ball, learn from this and apply it to the rest of the season.”