SIOUX CITY, IA—Day two of pool play at the NAIA National Volleyball Tournament ended in a straight sets loss for the Bulldogs. Mac drew the 8th-seeded Northwestern College Red Raiders, who were upset by the 27th-seed in their first pool play match on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs fought hard and held leads in each of the sets, but were unable to close things out. The opening set was tightly contested, with the Bulldogs within two points of the Red Raiders late in the set. Northwestern though won six of the final ten points to close things out 25-21.
The Bulldogs bounced back in the second set and led by as many as five points early in the set. The Red Raiders chipped away at the Bulldog lead with an 11-4 run to take the lead 12-10. Five points later, Northwestern had extended the lead to five, 16-11. The Bulldogs refused to fold. They battled back, and held two set points, and served for the set at 24-22. Unfortunately, the Red Raiders had another run of their own. They won the last four points, to take the set 26-24.
The Bulldogs tried to stave off elimination, but couldn't overcome the Red Raiders in the third set. They got down 3-0 early in the set, but came back to tie the game at seven. They would tie it again at 12, but that was as close as they would get. The Red Raiders went on a 7-4 run and took the lead 17-14. The Bulldogs got it back to within one at 17-16, but Northwestern went on an 8-5 run to close out the set 25-21.
Lexi Kite, once again, led a Bulldog offense that had 37 kills in 126 attempts. She finished the match with 17 kills on 38 swings with only five errors, for a .316 hitting percentage. On defense, Jamie Siess led the back line effort with 19 defensive digs while Devrie Sombers led the frontline defense, assisting on four of the team's six blocks.
Coach Hans summed up day two saying, "nerves were gone and the fire was there. Devrie and Lexi, for consecutive days, led the team purely with their determination and strategic leadership, pushing the girls to keep fighting. Jamie Siess was a consistent force in the brackets passing a 2.3 and averaging 6.3 digs a set. We aggressively kept them out of service with our serving."
With the loss, the Bulldogs are 0-2 in pool play at the national tournament, and 33-4 overall on the season. They will play their final pool play match Thursday evening at 6 p.m. against the Marian University Knights.