Dakota Wesleyan advances to knockout rounds in NAIA Women’s Volleyball National Tournament

DWU advances to the NAIA Women's Volleyball Quarterfinals for the first time in program history.
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 11:44 PM CST
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SIOUX CITY, IOWA (Dakota News Now) - Pool “F” top seed Dakota Wesleyan volleyball keeps dancing at the NAIA Women’s Volleyball National Tournament after the four-set win over MidAmerica Nazarene as fans got to witness high level colligate volleyball with several highlight digs, kills, and rallies.

The match was tough from first serve for both teams, as Dakota Wesleyan and MidAmerica were fighting for their lives to keep their respective seasons alive, and it showed. Mackenzie Miller started the scoring right away putting down a kill from Madeline Else for the 1-0 lead. The Pioneers were able to side out and tie the set again after the Tigers grabbed only a one-point lead through 11-10.

MNU turned around a tied the set at 11-11 then ran the score up giving them a three-point advantage of the Tigers before DWU sided out to trail 14-12. Dakota Wesleyan continued to battle, closing the margin then taking the lead back at 18-17 after Dannielle Burns picked up a huge ace. MidAmerica grabbed back-to-back kills tying the set, then taking a one-point lead, 19-18.

The Tigers were able to turn around and do the same thing giving them a 20-19 lead. After MNU tallied their 20th point tying the set, the Tigers went and pushed their lead back to two-points, before going on a 3-1 run to secure the opening set win 25-21.

The second set, MNU was able to get ahead and keep it, coming out of several ties with the lead. The Tigers were unable to get those small runs going like they did in the first, as the Pioneers continued to put up two or three points at a time before DWU was able to side out. Dakota Wesleyan made a late push with a three-point run closing the margin to 23-19, then 24-21, but it wasn’t quite enough as MNU tied the match at 1-1.

Dakota Wesleyan turned it on in the third set, as they have done nearly all season long. The Tigers got up big early with kills from several players including, Ady Dwight, Mariah Gloe, and Abigail Brunsing forcing MNU to burn a timeout, their first of the set as they trailed the Tigers 12-5. DWU continued to rally behind the chanting of tiger nation once play resumed, putting up a 4-1 run extending their lead to 16-6. The Pioneers made a 4-1 run of their own as they looked to close the margin until Miller cut it short and holding the Tigers lead at 18-10, before Dwight earned a kill and Callie Slagter registered an ace pushing the DWU lead back to 10, 20-10 forcing a MidAmerica timeout.

After the players returned to the textile sport court over the covered ice rink of Fleet Farm Arena and the Tyson Events Center, MNU closed their deficit to seven points with a kill and back-to-back assisted blocks. The Tigers once again cut their run short as Brunsing grabbed a kill sending Tya Weideman back to serve. DWU grabbed a free point from the Pioneers after an attacking error, before allowing two more points from MNU. Those two points from MidAmerica were the last two points they earned as the Tigers set Dwight and Gloe for kills, then Else and Emily Dale combined for the assisted block to win the third-set, 25-15 and take a 2-1 match lead.

MidAmerica Nazarene came out swinging in the fourth set as they looked to stay alive and see a fifth set. The Pioneers lead the Tigers by a score of 12-9 before head coach Lindsay Wilber called for a timeout to regroup her team. Immediately after the timeout, Dakota Wesleyan went on a 5-0 run taking a two-point lead at 14-12, with kills from Dwight, a Weideman ace, and blocks by Dwight and Else forcing the Pioneers to take a timeout. It was a nail-bitter from here on out as both team continued battling and trying to find ways to either tie the set or take a one-point lead.

With the fourth set tied at 21-21, the Tigers picked up two big points to lead 23-21 forcing MNU to burn their final timeout of the set. MidAmerica was able to grab one point after the timeout, but it was the Tigers who reached 25-points first and punched their ticket to the NAIA Women’s Volleyball Quarterfinals for the first-time in program history.

Dakota Wesleyan and MidAmerica were both up and down on hitting percentage, but the Tigers hit their best in the third set posting 15 kills for a .263 hitting percentage. The Pioneers hit their best in the second set with 17 kills for a .229 hitting percentage. Overall, DWU hit .181 percent as a team, while MNU hit .140 percent as a team. MidAmerica tallied 57 kills, 48 assists, four aces, 88 digs, and 23 blocks in the match. Dakota Wesleyan recorded 51 kills, 47 assists, six aces, 89 digs, and 23 blocks.

Dwight and Gloe led the Tigers with 15 kills each, while Gloe led the team in hitting percentage with .289. Miller posted 10 kills with Brunsing adding eight. Else notched 41 assists, 16 digs, and five blocks. Hanna Reiff tallied five assists, one ace, and 28 digs; while Slagter tallied herself a kill, one ace, and 11 digs.

Dakota Wesleyan volleyball is back in action tomorrow evening in the quarterfinal round of the NAIA Women’s Volleyball National Tournament. The Tigers will face off against Midland, Bellevue (Neb.), as the Tigers and Warriors will meet for the third time this season. DWU and MU will square off in the battle of the GPAC teams at 8 p.m. from the Tyson Events Center and Fleet Farm Arena.

Recap courtesy of DWU Athletics.