SIOUX CITY -- Back at the NAIA Volleyball Championships for the first time since 2014, fifth-ranked Northwestern established itself thanks to a balanced attack.
A.J. Horstman had a match-high 11 kills as the Red Raiders opened Pool E play with a 25-21, 25-15, 25-21 sweep over Lourdes Tuesday night. Makenzie Fink added nine kills while Lauren Hilger and Anna Kiel provided eight and seven kills, respectively, for an offense that was limited to .186 hitting, but according to winning coach Kyle Van Den Bosch, improved as the match went on.
“Something we’ve tried to do all year is have a good, balanced attack,” said Van Den Bosch, whose team improved to 28-5. “I think that’s going to a key through this tournament to keep everybody fresh, to keep spreading the ball around. A 2 ½-week layoff … it takes a little bit to get that rhythm back to compete.
“You can try as hard as you want to practice it, but it’s different in a game. We had a big lead in the third game where we didn’t pass real great down the stretch. But it was exciting to see us get stronger as the match went on. We anticipate that to get better as the tournament goes on.”
Lacey Wacker dished 32 assists. Defensively, the Red Raiders held Lourdes to .-010 hitting, receiving two solo blocks and four block assists from Josie Blankespoor. Hilger, Horstman and Kiel each recorded three block assists while Horstman and Lacey Walker each had 15 digs.
Emily Arnold and Genessee Tate each recorded four kills for Lourdes (23-11). Setter Jamie Markus had 11 assists while Angelica Dippold had 15 digs.
GRAND VIEW 3, TABOR 1: Courtney Twit was a force at the net with 14 kills, one solo block and nine block assists as eighth-ranked Grand View posted a Pool H 25-17, 22-25, 25-23, 25-23 win over Tabor.
Meagan Miller and Erin Wenzel added 12 and 10 kills, respectively, for Grand View (32-7). Setter Trystin Luneckas had 44 assists while Jordyn Rittman had 19 digs.
Brooke Holloway led Tabor (28-10) with 14 kills, two more than Amy Horner. Megan Voth dished 23 assists while Ali Jost had 23 digs. Sydney Peitz had a team-high five block assists.
HASTINGS 3, EMBRY-RIDDLE 0: Defending national champion Hastings wasted little time in posting a 3-0 sweep to begin the NAIA Volleyball Championships Tuesday at the Tyson Events Center.
Casey Krolikowski had 12 kills and just one error for a .579 hitting percentage as the Broncos posted a 25-10, 25-19, 25-19 win over Embry-Riddle (Fla.).
Great Plains Athletic Conference Player of the Year Katie Placke added six kills for a Hastings team that posted 40 kills against just seven errors in the match, for a .344 hitting efficiency.
Placke added 18 assists and Clare Hamburger 15 while GPAC Libero of the Year Jill Bax had 14 digs in a match that lasted just a bit over an hour.
Caylee Robalin had seven kills and Jalin Yoder six while Audrey Baldwin contributed 14 assists for Embry-Riddle, the California Pacific Conference champs.
LINDSEY WILSON 3, TEXAS WESLEYAN 0: Top-ranked Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) breezed to a 25-9, 25-10, 25-13 opening victory in a match that took one hour and seven minutes.
The unbeaten Blue Raiders, moving to 29-0, received 13 kills from Paulina Sobolewska and 11 from Elly Burke.
Makenzie Montano had 36 assists and 16 digs for the Mid-South Conference champions, who have dropped just one set all season.
Lindsey Wilson had 49 kills and just seven errors in the match, good for a .452 hitting efficiency.
Shelby Stinnett had six kills and Sasha Robinson 14 assists for Texas Wesleyan.
MONTANA TECH 3, MADONNA 1: Montana Tech overcame a first set loss to defeat Madonna 18-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-15 in a Pool C match on Tuesday.
Angela Molesworth was one of three Montana Tech players in double figures in kills with 17 while Nicole Peacock and Masha Korol added 10 apiece.
The Orediggers rebounded after having eight hitting errors in the first set to only have six in the subsequent three sets.
Hannah Liss (24) and Tori Chelini (18) combined for 42 assists while Sabrina Hopcroft had 29 digs and Peacock 21 for the Frontier Conference champs.
Nicole Oestrike led Madonna with 17 kills while Karlie Kelly had 13 and Amanda Hawkins 12.
Lauren Korth had 43 assists and 20 digs for the Crusaders, an at-large selection out of the Wolverine-Hooiser Athletic Conference.
Alyssa Facione was one of five for Madonna in double figures in digs with 21.
JAMESTOWN 3, CORNERSTONE 2: Jamestown outlasted Cornerstone in a Pool A match 25-22, 25-11, 22-25, 24-26, 15-8.
Morgan Hensch had a match-high 23 kills, one of four in double figures for the Jimmies, who overcame 28 attack errors in the match.
Jessica Velander had 15 kills, Isabel Wedell 12 and Haley Glasoe 10 for the North Star Athletic Association regular season runner-up.
Josie Beckman contributed 34 assists and 19 digs while Whitney King had 25 assists for Jamestown (22-8). Elise Peterson was one of four in double figures in digs with 34.
Kendra Zwart and Heather Carlson had 12 kills apiece for Cornerstone, who scored the final three points of set two and the final two points of set three.
Hope Leppink had 37 assists and 14 digs while Mackenzie Vallad 32 digs for the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference tournament champs.
PARK 3, INDIANA WESLEYAN 2: Playing for the first time ever at the NAIA Volleyball Championships, Noura Meawad made her presence known Tuesday afternoon.
Selected as the freshman of the year and the player of the year in the American Midwest Conference, the 6-foot right side hitter from Cairo, Egypt supplied 18 kills, 12 blocks and three block assists while leading seventh-ranked Park to a 21-25, 25-15, 25-23, 21-25, 15-12 win over Indiana Wesleyan in a Pool G match.
Alissa Flint contributed 11 kills and 17 digs for Park (31-3), which is competing in its fifth straight national tournament. Maren Mair and Aneisha Ford each recorded 10 kills while setter Danna Gomes delivered 47 assists and 19 digs. Celina Monteiro had 36 digs, Nada Meawad added 21 digs while Ford had a team-high five block assists.
Tay Thomas led Indiana Wesleyan (28-11) with a match-high 19 kills, two more than Marci Miller. Setters Katie Cole and Emily Workman finished with 36 and 27 assists respectively, while Banner Rodgers had 28 digs, seven more than Anne Fong.
WESTMONT 3, SAINT XAVIER 1: Ranked first nationally going into the NAIA Volleyball National Championships with an average of 15.7 kills and 14.8 assists per game, sixth-ranked Westmont played at that pace during Tuesday’s 25-22, 25-20, 22-25, 25-20 Pool F win over Saint Xavier.
Libby Dahlberg paced the Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament champions with 12 kills while Taylor Beckman added 11 kills and 18 digs. Amy Buffham provided 22 assists and 15 digs while fellow setter Camryn Kaina had 18 assists for an offense that collected 48 kills.
Lauren Friis had 17 digs for Westmont (32-3) while Dahlberg had one solo block and three block assists.
Competing in the national tournament for the first time since 2012, Saint Xavier (35-5) received 11 and 10 kills, respectively, from Rory Manion and Kate Bontrager. Courtney Joyce dished 30 assists and also contributed 21 digs, the same number for Bontrager and Mariana Ayala.
VITERBO 3, OUR LADY OF THE LAKE 0: Natalie Geidel came into the NAIA Volleyball Nationals as one of the nation’s top hitters, averaging a third-place 4.5 kills per game while also ranking sixth with a .383 hitting percentage.
Geidel slammed a match-high 19 kills as second-ranked Viterbo strolled past Our Lady of the Lake 25-14, 25-15, 25-19 in Pool B action. The 6-2 senior middle hitter was the North Star Athletic Association’s most valuable player and offensive player of the year.
Miah Garant added eight kills for Viterbo (34-1) while setter Amelia Grahn had 40 assists and three block assists. Baylee Gross and Chloe Jakscht each recorded 11 digs while Geidel and Aubrey Aspen each recorded one solo block and three block assists.
Raven Swain had nine kills for Our Lady of the Lakes (24-9) while setters Anissa Tamez and Anyssa Rivera dished 14 and 12 assists, respectively. Swain also had 13 digs while Mariza Cardenas had one solo block and two block assists.
MIDLAND 3, MARIAN 0: Eleventh-ranked Midland swept Marian 25-14, 25-22, 25-20 in a Pool F match.
Priscilla O’Dowd and Jenny Bair each slammed 11 kills for Midland (20-9), a national contestant for the fifth straight year. Setter Jessica Peters dished 36 assists while Jessica Nekl and Jaisa Russell had 14 and 13 digs, respectively. O’Dowd and Shelby Bretschneider each posted three solo blocks.
Kacee Salyers led Marian (28-6) with nine kills. Setters Madi Heffron and Julie Hoying each dished 15 assists while Vanessa Lay had 10 digs.
EASTERN OREGON 3, GEORGETOWN 0: Amanda Miller slammed 11 kills, one more than Madisen Garlie while leading 15th-ranked Eastern Oregon to a 25-21, 25-22, 25-13 sweep over No. 17 Georgetown.
Setter Madison Pilon (29 assists) directed an Eastern Oregon offense that hit .327. The 23-9 Mountaineers also received 12 digs from Kourtney McMurtrey while Emily Ney had one solo block and three block assists.
Jenny Howell led Georgetown (21-5) with 14 kills. Kassidy Rauh delivered 32 assists while Madison Mudd had 14 digs.
CORBAN 3, MISSOURI VALLEY 0: Amber Parker provided 14 kills and three block assists while leading No. 10 Corban to a 25-22, 25-17, 28-26 sweep over Missouri Valley.
Corban (25-7) received 12 and 11 kills respectively, from Adriana Aguayo and Aliana Gentili. Madison Milligan contributed 19 assists and 15 digs while fellow setter Cierra Leopoldino dished 26 assists.
Corban also recorded three solo blocks and 16 block assists in the triumph. Marandah Boeder had one solo block and six block assists while Aguayo had two solos and one assist. Parker and Demi Winters each recorded three block assists.
Dakota Santore had 13 kills for Missouri Valley (33-9), two more than Katarina Krstonosic. Kristin Sazama had 29 assists while Madison Sherman had 23 digs.
MISSOURI BAPTIST 3, NORTHWEST 0: Caterina Cigarini had 11 kills and Marion Couraud added 10 as 13th-ranked Missouri Baptist posted a 26-24, 25-16, 25-19 sweep over No. 20 Northwest Tuesday night to conclude Pool D play.
Setter Rachel Poole dished 37 assists for Missouri Baptist (30-8) while Rachel Luebbers had 19 digs. Kristina Medanovic provided nine kills, two solo blocks and one block assist.
Sarah Warner led Northwest (23-9) with seven kills. Setter Morgan Pilon contributed 22 assists and three block assists. Alysanne Van Dyke had 14 digs.
COLLEGE OF IDAHO 3, BELLEVUE 1: Ashley Pagan supplied 21 kills and 22 digs as 12th-ranked College of Idaho clipped No. 21 Bellevue 25-22, 22-25, 25-22, 25-21 to finish Pool E play.
Jackie Van Vliet hit .484 while pounding 16 kills for College of Idaho (25-6). Taylor Alexander and Alaina Slater finished with 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Alexander and setter Marija Djonovic (55 assists) each had three ace serves while Kilee Lopez had a team-high 26 digs.
Michaela Gardner led Bellevue (29-12) with 11 kills, one more than Shayla Scanlan. Setter Maddie Squiers had 40 assists and 20 digs while Taylor Holz had a team-high 29 digs.