SIOUX CITY | As the last Great Plains Athletic Conference team standing in the NAIA Volleyball National Championships, Dordt College is doing very well.
Energetic hitting and plenty of adrenaline carried Coach Chad Hanson’s fourth-ranked Defenders to a pair of Friday victories at the Tyson Events Center and into the tournament’s semifinal round for the second straight year.
Leah Kamp hit .533 and tied a season-high with 18 kills. Ema Altena added eight as the Defenders swept No. 6 Westmont 25-18, 25-19, 27-25 in the evening’s final quarterfinal match.
Dordt’s triumph came roughly four hours following an equally-emotional 20-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-20 Final Round victory over GPAC rival and last year’s national championship squad from Hastings, the nation’s third-ranked squad.
Veteran setter Jamie Gesink delivered 37 assists while directing a Dordt attack that hit .288. Ally Krommendyk added seven kills, one more than 6-foot-6 Haley Moss while energetic libero Summer Jansen had a match-high 17 digs.
Dordt will take a 33-7 record into an 11 a.m. semifinal match Satrday against No. 2 Viterbo (38-1). The winner of this match will face either No. 1 Lindsey Wilson (33-0) or No. 13 Missouri Baptist (34-8), also slated for an 11 a.m. start.
Experience is among the factors for a Dordt squad that returns six athletes from last year’s 28-8 team that lost a five-game thriller to Hastings in last year’s NAIA final. An outside hitter, Altena and Moss are three of the veteran hitters along with outside Julia Lindbergh while Gesink and Jansen are back from a year ago along with defensive specialist Aubrey Drake.
Here’s how emotional Friday night’s quarterfinal triumph was. Dordt, which tied with Hastings and No. 5 Northwestern for the GPAC regular-season championship, trailed much of the third set, including 19-16 late on a kill from Libby Dahlberg.
Dordt then rallied to tie the set at 20, 21, 22, 24 and 25. Facing an opponent it lost 3-1 on Aug. 17 at the Hope International Tournament in Fullerton, California, the Defenders got a kill from Altena, who defeated the double-block attempt from Dahlberg and Samantha Neely.
Westmont, a 3-0 First Round winner over Northwestern, then committed its 16th attack error, giving Dordt the triumph.
Blocking was another key as Dordt enjoyed an 18-15 edge. Krommendyk, a 6-2 sophomore middle blocker, had six block assists while Kamp and Gesink each added three.
Dahlberg, a 6-3 junior middle blocker, led Westmont (36-4) with 12 kills while also providing one solo block and five block assists. Setters Camryn Kaina and Amy Buffham had 17 and 16 assists, respectively. Taylor Beckman had 11 digs.
Viterbo, incidentally, has something in common with Westmont as Dordt heads into the semifinal. Altena delivered 14 kills, two more than Kamp, as the Defenders lost a four-game match on Oct. 5.