Dakota Wesleyan volleyball wins its first pool play match at national tournament

The Tigers will play Park University in a win-or-go-home scenario.

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SIOUX CITY, IOWA -- The Dakota Wesleyan volleyball team got off to a strong start Tuesday in the NAIA volleyball national championship pool play Tuesday at the Tyson Events Center.

In the program’s first pool-play match, the Tigers won in convincing fashion.

The Tigers (25-9) swept Grand View University in their first of two guaranteed matches. Set scores were 25-21, 25-23 and 25-19.

It sets up a decisive match with Park University of Missouri at 1 p.m. Wednesday, with the winner between the two teams clinching a trip to Thursday's national quarterfinals.

In the first set, DWU got off to a quick 2-0 advantage, but Grand View (25-15) would counter and take its first lead of the first set at 6 to 5. Right side hitter Mackenzie Miller answered back with an emphatic kill down the middle to tie it up at six. Both teams traded the next 14 points until DWU finally created a gap going on a 5-1 run, taking a 18-14 lead. Dakota Wesleyan held on to that four-point lead and won the first set 25-21.


The Tigers started off the second set with another 2-0 lead and expanded that lead to 8-4 before the Vikings took their first timeout. DWU would continue to put the pressure on Grand View, extending the lead to its largest of the evening at 18-9. The Vikings would respond with a 7 to 1 run, forcing DWU to take its second and final timeout of the set at 20-19. Grand View would tie the set at 22, but DWU would score three of the next four points to win the second set.

In the third set, Grand View was first on the scoreboard but couldn't keep serve. The Tigers answered right away with a Abigail Brunsing kill, followed by an Ady Dwight kill to take the lead. The Vikings would regain the lead four points later, only to be their last time having the lead of the evening. After back-to-back kills by Miller, DWU held the lead for the remainder of the set, ultimately winning its third straight and ending Grand View’s season.

Grand View just lost to No. 4-ranked Park University (31-2) in its match eight hours prior to facing the Tigers. Since Grand View went 0-2 in pool play and Dakota Wesleyan, along with Park sit at 1-0, Wednesday’s match against DWU and Park will mean the winner advances to the championship bracket and the loser's season is over.

In Dakota Wesleyan’s victory over Grand View, three players had 12 kills or more. Dwight led the Tigers with 15 kills, Mariah Gloe had 13 and Miller had 12. They combined for 40 of the team's 48 kills. Madeline Else had a match-high assists and Hanna Reiff had a match-high 28 digs. Gloe also added 14 digs of her own and both Dwight and Miller had five block assists each.

For Grand View, Alexa Aldrich-Ingram led the way with 14 kills and Lauren Bair followed her up with 11. Chevy Wagner-Chun had 17 digs while Bailey Sullivan had 31 assists and 11 digs.

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