Northwestern Volleyball Remains Perfect on the Season

September 05, 2021 8:40am

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The No. 8-ranked Northwestern College volleyball team (8-0, 1-0 GPAC) wrapped up the Sioux City Tournament, picking up two more victories today to remain unbeaten on the season. The Raiders downed St. Francis (Ind.) (2-9, 0-1 CL) 3-0, before battling for a come-from-behind victory over (RV) Evangel (4-5, 0-0 HAAC) 3-2.

(8) Northwestern 3, St. Francis 0

Northwestern breezed by a St. Francis team that has struggled so far this season, defeating the Cougars in straight sets, never allowing more than Cougar points in any set. Set one was complete control by the Raiders who took the set, 25-10. Jumping out to a 5-0 lead early, the Raiders never took their foot off the gas. The set was propelled by two more 5-0 runs in the set.

The second set was more Raider dominance, highlighted by an impressive 11-0 run for the Raiders who took the set 25-12 and sat firmly in control of the match. The Cougars struggled mightily to get any offensive attack going, committing 23 attack errors that helped propel the Raiders to the straight set victory.

(8) Northwestern 3, (RV) Evangel 2

The afternoon match was the toughest team the young Raider squad has come up against so far this season – and it proved to be a hard-fought contest, marking the first match to go all five sets this season. Freshman Alysen Dexter (Urbandale, Iowa/Des Moines Christian) had a match-high 15 kills, followed closely by senior Bekah Horstman (Pella, Iowa/Pella Christian). Olivia Schaub (Jr., Scottsbluff, Neb./Gering) also tallied 13 kills in the match.

The Raiders took the first set of the match convincingly, 25-15, as the Raiders hitting percentage in that first set was a whopping .379. But when the hitting percentage dropped, so did the Raider success. Evangel managed to take sets 2 and 3 by the scores of 25-23 as the Raider hitting percentage dipped to .265 and .190, respectively. In the fourth and fifth sets, the Raiders pulled it together again and their hitting percentage jumped up to .333 in each of the final two sets. Northwestern dominated the fourth set 25-15 to force the deciding fifth set and by that time had all the momentum on their side. That momentum carried over into the fifth set as the Raiders prevailed 15-8 to complete the comeback and remain unbeaten on the year.

Another match that saw a ton of blocks as the team tallied 28 total blocks, led by Horstman who tallied 10 blocks, all assists. Defensively, the script remained the same as senior Emily Strasser led the match with 19 digs, followed by Olivia Granstra with 16 and Jadeyn Schutt with 13.

On the season, the Raiders have still only dropped three sets out of the 27 total sets played so far this season. They have increased their total of straight set victories to six, including four in a row before the Evangel match ended the streak.

Up Next: The Raiders continue their road warrior stint as the team awaits the Bultman Center renovations to be completed. Northwestern travels to Bellevue on Tuesday, Sept. 7 to square off with the No. 12-ranked Bruins of Bellevue University. First serve set for 6:00 p.m.