SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Sixth-ranked Lindsey Wilson volleyball remained unbeaten in pool play with a 3-1 win over No. 21-ranked Central Methodist (Mo.) today at the NAIA National Tournament presented by Delta Hotels at the Tyson Events Center.
With Lindsey Wilson’s 25-17, 25-20, 19-25, 26-24 win today, coupled with Eastern Oregon’s win over Oklahoma City, the Blue Raiders (31-3) are assured a spot in the knockout round which begins on Friday.
Lindsey Wilson and Eastern Oregon each are 2-0 in pool play and will meet on Thursday.
It was a hit-and-miss day for the Blue Raider offense. Lindsey Wilson finished the match with 67 kills over the four sets, but its efficiency was well off its regular-season numbers. The Blue Raiders hit just .207 for the match, committing 31 attacking errors. For the season, Lindsey Wilson entered the match with a .297 team attack — second best in the NAIA.
While the offense was rugged at times, the Lindsey Wilson defense continued to shine. Central Methodist — who averaged over 14 kills per set with a .265 attack — was limited to a .175 hitting percentage with 48 total kills.
The Blue Raiders finished the match with eight team blocks.
Sarah Cruz pounded out seven kills in the opening set as the Blue Raiders tallied 18 kills to take the first frame 25-17. Cruz led Lindsey Wilson for a second straight day, posting a match-high 18 kills.
Central Methodist opened strong, scoring four of the first five points. Lindsey Wilson rebounded with an 8-1 run and never trailed again in the set. The Blue Raiders built their largest lead of the set at 23-15 en route to the first-set win.
Lindsey Wilson produced its best attacking set of the match in a 25-20 second-set win.
The Blue Raiders hit .318 with 20 kills in the set. Cruz and Klara Mikelova each provided six kills to lead the attack. Mikelova ended the day with 17 kills — one off her career high. Autumn Proctor recorded her second straight 16-assist set to orchestrate the Blue Raider offense. She finished the match with her second consecutive double-double, posting a career-high 57 assists and 16 digs.
Lindsey Wilson never trailed in the set, scoring nine of the first 11 points in the frame. The Blue Raiders would extend their lead to as many as nine points on two different occasions to take a 2-0 lead.
Central Methodist turned the tables on the Blue Raiders in the third stanza, handing Lindsey Wilson its first loss set at the national tournament 25-19.
The Eagles (31-7) hit .303 in the set while the Blue Raiders committed nine errors against three Central Methodist team blocks.
Lindsey Wilson led early in the set (9-6) only to have the Eagles run off four straight points to take their first lead of the set. Central Methodist extended its lead to three points midway through the set and ultimately put the set away with winning five of the final six points. Viviane Viana led the Eagles with four kills in the frame. She finished the match with a team-high 14 kills.
Both teams struggled offensively in the fourth and final set — a Lindsey Wilson 26-24 win.
The two teams each produced 14 kills and nine errors in the frame. Lindsey Wilson hit .098 while Central Methodist posted a .102 team attack.
Lindsey Wilson methodically erased a three-point fourth-set deficit to take a 12-10 lead midway through the set. The Blue Raiders took their largest lead of the set at 21-16 and looked to be on their way to closing out the match.
Central Methodist closed within three points twice before Grace Blomstedt produced her 11th and final kill of the day to give the Blue Raiders match point at 24-20.
The Eagles provided one final run with a kill and three consecutive blocks to tie the set at 24-24. Lindsey Wilson produced the final run of the match, winning the final two points on a pair of Central Methodist attacking errors.
Paulina Sobolewska continued her strong play at the net with four assisted blocks and eight kills in the match. Lilo Larzelere led the Blue Raiders with 19 digs.
The win is Lindsey Wilson’s ninth straight at the national tournament, dating back to last season’s national title.
Lindsey Wilson faces Eastern Oregon at Noon CT on Thursday on the final day of pool play at the Tyson Events Center.