LCSC opens pool play with 3-1 win over Indiana Tech
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – It took one set to settle in, and after that the Lewis-Clark State College women’s volleyball team was too much for Indiana Tech to handle on day one of pool play at the 32nd annual NAIA Volleyball National Championship. The No. 8-ranked Warriors topped No. 17 Indiana Tech in four sets 20-25, 25-17, 25-17, 25-15.
With the win the Warriors improve to 22-4, while Indiana Tech drops to 34-6. LCSC will continue pool play on Wednesday with a 1:15 p.m., Pacific time, match against No. 18 Point Loma Nazarene. Point Loma was swept by No. 5 Columbia on Tuesday.
“It was a little bit of nerves and maybe trying too hard,” said LCSC head coach LaToya Harris about why her team struggled in set No. 1. “After the first set we were able to relax and get our rhythm back.”
Unforced errors kept the Warriors playing catch-up in the first set, but with a more consistent offensive attack and an increased blocking presence at the net LCSC was able to control the pace for the remainder of the match.
LCSC seniors Nicole Graybeal and Lauryn Herrick caught fire in the final three sets and finished with 14 and 13 kills, respectively. Graybeal had a match-high .355 hitting percent, and also led with four service aces.
At the net, freshman Chelsea Strong came up with a match-high four solo blocks and three block assists. Graybeal added two solo blocks and two block assists to help the Warriors finish with an 11-5 lead in blocks overall.
“Our middles got it going first for us,” said Harris. “And this led to more open shots for us on the outside.”
The Warriors, making their 12th appearance at nationals and fifth straight, outhit Indiana Tech .215 to .086 in the match with their highest hitting percentage of .323 coming in the fourth set. Setter Nevena Dragovic topped LCSC with 39 assists, and Melanie Forman had 41 assists for Tech.
Ashley Hamilton led Indiana Tech with 11 kills, while Kelsea Nova and Kelsey Cox added 10 kills apiece.
The Warriors will be looking for a little bit of revenge in Wednesday’s match against Point Loma. The Sea Lions handed the Warriors a pool-play loss during last year’s tournament.
“Point Loma has a great go-to player that we have to focus on stopping,” said Harris referencing Sea Lion senior Tabitha Henken. “We need to control her and then push our tempo.”