Warriors post two impressive wins; finish 4-0 at tourney
BELLEVUE, Neb. – Senior outside hitter Lauryn Herrick recorded 31 kills on the day to help the Lewis-Clark State College women’s volleyball team complete a strong weekend by being just one of two teams to go undefeated in Bellevue University’s Bruin Labor Day Classic.
The Warriors, ranked No. 7 in the NAIA preseason poll, disposed of No. 15-ranked Northwestern of Iowa 25-16, 25-23, 25-23, and then disposed of host Bellevue, ranked No. 16, 28-26, 21-25, 25-18, 25-22.
LCSC, 6-2 overall, has won five straight matches, including four in the Classic. During its two days of play, LCSC lost only one set, the best of the 12 teams involved. Only Doane, ranked No. 12, also went undefeated in the tournament but went 12-2 in set play.
Unlike the previous week when the Warriors had some problems closing out sets, LCSC answered the bell each time on Saturday.
In the opening match against Northwestern, the Warriors only trailed 0-1 before taking control of the first set and rolling. In the second set, the Warriors trailed 20-18, but scored four straight points as Nevena Dragovic had an ace serve and Liz Clark, filling in for injured All-American middle blocker Nicole Graybeal had a kill to spark the Warriors to the win. Graybeal suffered a foot injury in a match last week and was held out this weekend as a precautionary measure.
“I’m extremely happy with the way everyone played, especially the way the outside really carried us this weekend” LCSC coach LaToya Harris said. “With Nicole out, we’ve focused on serve receive and defense being consistent so we can run our offense. We when do that we are a more competitive team.
The third set saw LCSC get off to a 5-0 lead only to have Grandview rally for a 20-18 advantage. Again, LC came on with five straight points for a 23-20 lead. Junior right-side hitter Brianne Brown had two kills during the run and the Warriors were able to close out the match.
Herrick was the only Warrior in double figures in kills with 13 and hit .379 for the match. She also had 12 digs and three service aces. Kelli Tikker added eight kills and 10 digs, while Dragovic had 16 assists, six digs and two aces. Kaylee Rector also had two aces for LC.
Chelsea Shears led the Warriors with 13 digs, while Naomi Hernandez added 10. Chelsea Strong and Brown finished with three block assists apiece.
“It wasn’t just one player for us but all of them contributing,” Harris said. “I’m excited to see this team when everyone is healthy and experienced. We are competing against top teams with a number of incoming freshmen and younger players and they’re all stepping up. I can’t really say one person is standing out because if someone is struggling I can go to the bench .”
In the win over Bellevue, the Warriors again set the tone early. Bellevue led 24-23 in the first game, but the Warriors fought off game point. Bellevue then fought off three game points before a Bruin attack error gave LCSC the win.
Bellevue dominated the second game, but the Warriors used a 9-3 run midway through the third game to erase an 11-10 deficit and turn it into a 19-14 advantage. LC was able to ride the momentum to the win.
In the see-saw fourth game, Bellevue grabbed a 22-21 lead before LC again showed its grit and scored the final four points. Herrick had a kill and combined with Tanja Luedin on a block for the final point.
Tikker, Herrick and Brown combined for 50 of LCSC’s 62 kills in the match. Tikker finished with 20 and hit .260. She also had 12 digs and two aces. Herrick had 18 kills and hit a whopping .531. She also had a service ace. Brown had 12 kills and hit .269
As a team, LCSC hit .270 for the match.
Hernandez finished with 23 assists to lead LCSC while Dragovic and Ali Huber had 16 each. Shears finished with 13 digs, while Brown had three block assists. LCSC had 10 team blocks for the match.
The Warriors will resume action on Thursday when they play their home and Frontier Conference opener. LCSC plays host to Rocky Mountain at 7 p.m. at the LCSC Activity Center.