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LWC captures Pool A with five-set win over Cornerstone

Next - With the win, Lindsey Wilson (31-0) wins Pool A with a 3-0 record. The Blue Raiders face the runner-up of Pool B at 9amCT on Friday, December 1, 2017, at Tyson Events Center, 401 Gordon Drive, Sioux City, Iowa in the first round of the single-elimination bracket.
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By Chris Wells, Lindsey Wilson College Sports Information Director

SIOUX CITY, IOWA - (Thu 30 Nov 2017) - Top-ranked Lindsey Wilson volleyball survived a five-set thriller with No. 16 Cornerstone (MI) today at the 2017 NAIA Volleyball National Championship, presented by Delta Hotels, inside the Tyson Events Center.

With the win, Lindsey Wilson (31-0) wins Pool A with a 3-0 record. The Blue Raiders face the runner-up of Pool B at 9 a.m. CT on Friday, Dec. 1, in the first round of the single-elimination bracket.

The Blue Raiders fought back from down a set and a 5-1 deficit in the fifth to win 25-20, 22-25, 23-25, 25-17, 15-11. The five-set match is the first for Lindsey Wilson this season. Prior today's match, the Blue Raiders had dropped just one set all season.

After forcing a fifth set, Lindsey Wilson quickly found itself down in the decisive set. The Blue Raiders not only trailed 5-1, but were down 8-4 at the midway point of the race to 15.

Lindsey Wilson started its comeback with back-to-back kills from Carolynne Silva and Klara Mikelova and a Cornerstone error to trim the deficit to 8-7 and force a Golden Eagle timeout.

The Blue Raiders continued the momentum out of the timeout with three more points to take a 10-8 lead. Two more Cornerstone errors and a combo block by Silva and Elly Burke gave the Blue Raiders a slither of breathing room.

But Cornerstone answered back. The Golden Eagles won three of the next four points to tie the final set at 11-11.

Cornerstone failed to score again in the match.

Consecutive kills by Paulina Sobolewska pushed the Blue Raiders in front 13-11 and a block by Burke and Grace Blomstedt gave Lindsey Wilson match point. Sobolewska ended with a match-high 16 kills. She has led the Blue Raiders in kills in all three matches at the national tournament.

On match point, Cornerstone's last hope sailed long after a short rally to give the Blue Raiders their program-record 31st consecutive win.

Lindsey Wilson won the match despite hitting just .188 in the match -- its second-lowest attacking percentage in a match this season. The Blue Raiders entered today's match with a tournament-best .398 attack over its first two matches.

Lindsey Wilson and Cornerstone split the first two sets. The Golden Eagles' second-set win was just the second set loss of the season for the Blue Raiders and the first since August 19 -- a streak of 84 consecutive sets won by Lindsey Wilson.

The Golden Eagles took the third set after winning three of the final four points for a 25-23 win.

Lindsey Wilson overcame a 16-13 deficit to tie the match at 20-20 and again at 22-all.

Cornerstone's Elly Van Laar provided one of her 13 kills in the match to break the 22-22 tie only to have Blomstedt and Burke combine for a block to tie the set again at 23-23.

Jackie Stanko nudged the Golden Eagles back in front with a kill and Kendra Zwart finished the set with a solo block to give Cornerstone the 2-1 advantage.

After back-to-back sets of hitting below .200 as a team, Lindsey Wilson -- trailing for the first time this season in a match -- produced its best attack set of the match in the fourth. The Blue Raiders hit .371 to even the match with a 25-17 fourth-set win.

The Blue Raiders scored nine of the first 11 points of the set and led by as many as nine (24-15) to level the match and force the decisive set.

Sobolewska, Burke and Makenzie Montano all finished with double-doubles in the match.

Sobolewska added 13 digs to her 16 kills while Burke provided 15 kills and 14 digs. Burke also produced a solo block and four block assists in the match. Montano recorded season highs with 48 assists and 23 digs.

Caitlyn Tino played a stellar back row, ending with a season-high 38 digs. With today's total, she becomes the second Blue Raider to post 2,000 career digs. She now has 2,015 digs -- 30 digs behind program-leader Rachael Anderson's 2,045.

Zwart led the Golden Eagles -- who hit .137 as a team in the match -- with 15 kills.

Lindsey Wilson plays the Pool B runner-up -- the loser of the Viterbo (WI) and Eastern Oregon match -- at 9amT on Friday.

The national tournament's quarterfinals are slated for Friday night, with the semifinals and finals scheduled for Saturday.

This story was posted on 2017-11-30 17:14:54
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LWC Volleyball celebrates Pool A championship

2017-11-30 - Tyson Events Center, 401 Gordon Drive, Sioux City, Iowa - Photo from Chris Wells, LWC Sports Information Director.
Lindsey Wilson volleyball
celebrates after winning today's match over Cornerstone (MI) to clinch Pool A at the NAIA National Championship. - CHRIS WELLS

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