Warriors sweep No. 5 Biola
BIOLA, Calif. – After dropping another five-set heartbreaker, the Lewis-Clark State College women’s volleyball team saved the best for last in the Biola University/Holiday Inn Summer Slam on Saturday.
The Warriors, ranked No. 7 in the NAIA preseason poll, fell to No. 14 Southern Oregon 25-27, 25-21, 25-17, 18-25, 16-14 on Saturday afternoon, but bounced back to beat the fifth-ranked host team Biola 26-24, 25-15, 25-18 in the featured match on Saturday night.
The match was the only one LCSC played in the tournament that didn’t go a full five games. The Warriors were opening their season in the tournament, while Biola fell to 5-3 overall.
Nine teams took part in the tournament, including five that were ranked No. 16 or higher in the preseason NAIA poll. Cal State San Marcos, which edged LCSC in a five-set thriller on Friday, went 4-0 in the tournament, while Vanguard and No. 10-ranked College of Idaho went 3-1. LCSC, Biola Southern Oregon and No. 16 Bellevue went 2-2. Both William Jessup and Westmont went to 0-4.
The Warriors dominated Biola by never trailing by more than two points and hitting .418 for the match. LCSC also outblocked Biola 6-3 and has six players with at least four kills.
The opening game against Biola was tied on 14 occasions. The Eagles actually were serving for the game at 24-23, but kills by Brianne Brown and Kelli Tikker put the Warriors up 25-24. The game ended on a hitting error by the Eagles.
In the second game, LCSC broke a 6-6 tie with four consecutive points and nine of the next 10 for a 15-7 lead. Tikker had three kills during the run, while Brown added two. Biola could get no closer than six the rest of the way as LCSC had seven players with at least one kill for the second straight game.
Tanya Luedin had a pair of kills to help the Warriors jump out to a 5-0 lead in the third game. The Warriors led by as much as seven four times in the game, but Biola did make one last run to cut the margin to 21-17. The Warriors answered the run with four of the final five points for the sweep.
Lauryn Herrick led the Warriors with 10 kills, while Kelli Tikker just missed her fourth consecutive double-double. She finished with nine kills and 13 digs. Nicole Graybeal added eight kills, while Brown had seven and Luedin five. Nevena Dragovic had 20 assists, while Ali Hubert had 18.
In the opener, the Warriors had two match points in the fifth and deciding game, but Southern Oregon, now 3-2 overall, was able to rally for the final four points on a pair of kills and two LCSC hitting errors to capture the wild victory.
Herrick had a huge opening game in the match with eight kills to help LCSC to leads of 6-1 and 11-7. SOU, however, rallied and the match was tied 13 times. SOU fought off two game points before the Warriors scored back to back kills to claim the opener. Tikker added three kills and an ace.
Games two and three belonged to SOU. In the second game, LCSC led 10-9, but SOU was able to score five of the final seven points to claim the win. In the third game, SOU went on a 7-1 run after the game was tied at 9-9 and the Warriors couldn’t get closer than five the rest of the way.
In the fourth game, kills by Tikker and Brown broke an 11-11 tie and helped the Warriors to a 14-11 edge. LCSC pushed the lead to five points and cruised to the win. Tikker had six kills in the game, while Graybeal added four.
In the final game, LCSC trailed 4-2 when it scored six straight points – four on SOU hitting errors, a block, and a kill by Brown – for an 8-4 lead. After an ace serve by Ali Hubert pushed the Warriors’ lead to 11-5, SOU managed to score seven of the next eight points to tie the match. LC answered with a kill by Graybeal and a block by Luedin and Kaytlyn Coleman for a 14-12 lead, but two LCSC hitting errors and two kills allowed SOU to score the final four points of the match for the win.
Tikker finished with 19 kills, 13 digs and an ace, while Herrick added 16 kills and eight digs. Graybeal had 14 kills, five digs, and seven block assists, while Brown had 11 kills and four block assists. Chelsea Shears paced LC in digs with 15, while Dragovic had 36 assists.
LCSC had a 13-10 edge in blocks and outhit SOU .205 to .186.
Next week, the Warriors will be involved with another big tournament, this time the Bruin Labor Day Invitational at Bellevue, Neb. LCSC will play Grandview at 11 a.m. on Friday and No. 20 Dordt at 3 p.m. On Saturday, LCSC meets No. 14 Northwestern College and No. 16 Bellevue at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.
LCSC’s first home match is Sept. 8 when it kicks off the Frontier Conference season by playing host to Rocky Mountain College at 7 p.m.