NWC offense too much as Bruins fall in Pool Play

Mikaylah Gillespie recorded a team-high 12 kills on .265 hitting
Mikaylah Gillespie recorded a team-high 12 kills on .265 hitting

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- Four Red Raiders recorded double-doubles as the No. 5 Northwestern College Red Raiders defeated the 21st-ranked Bellevue University volleyball team 3-1 on Wednesday evening in the second of three Pool Play matches in the NAIA National Tournament at the Tyson Events Center.

Northwestern took the first set 29-27 when Bellevue seemingly had the set won (up 24-23) but they were called for a hotly contested lift on the attack attempt to prolong the set. Bellevue stormed back to take the second set, 25-21, and tie the match at one set apiece. Northwestern won the third set 25-18 as they got into a rhythm with an 8-1 run to close the set and grab a 2-1 lead in the match before going on to claim the fourth set – and the match – with a 25-19 win.

The Red Raiders run their record to 30-4 with the victory while the Bruins see their overall mark dip to 29-13 on the season.

Bellevue was led offensively by Mikaylah Gillespie's 12 kills and .265 hitting effort. Maddie Squiers and Michaela Gardner both narrowly missed double-doubles as Squiers finished with 38 assists and nine digs while Gardner tallied 10 kills and nine digs.

Taylor Holz led the Bruin defensive effort with 18 digs while Andrea Carson (11) and Lauren Colpitts (10) joined her in double figures.

Lauren Hilger and AJ Hortsman co-led Northwestern with 15 kills apiece on .344 and .217 hitting, respectively. Anna Kiel (12 kills) and Makenzie Fink (10) aided the offensive cause with strong hitting games as well.

Lacey Wacker notched a double-double with 51 assists and 11 digs while Hilger and Hortsman each had 13 digs to complete double-doubles of their own. Kiel finished with 10 digs to pick up the fourth Red Raider double-double of the night.

Northwestern out-hit Bellevue by a .228-.106 margin on the evening and picked up an 11-6 edge in blocks. Bellevue out-dug the Red Raiders 68-64 on the evening.

#5 Northwestern 3, #21 Bellevue 1 (29-27, 21-25, 25-18, 25-19)

1st Set Hitting: BU .068 | NWC .150

2nd Set Hitting: BU .226 | NWC .188

3rd Set Hitting: BU (-).036 | NWC .205

4th Set Hitting: BU .176 | NWC .417

1st Set: Northwestern 29, Bellevue 27

Both teams traded jabs in the opening set, feeling each other out, until Bellevue went on a quick 3-0 run to snag an early 8-5 lead. Northwestern answered right back with a 6-0 run to claim their first lead of the match at 11-8 to prompt the Bruins to use a timeout. The stoppage seemed to work; it slowed the Red Raiders momentum as BU stormed back with a 6-0 run to seize a 14-11 lead and NWC took a timeout. From there Northwestern fought back to tie the set at 24-all and force extra points where Northwestern picked up a 29-27 win.

2nd Set: Bellevue 25, Northwestern 21

Like the preceding set, the second set was tight throughout much of the early going as neither side could build more than a three-point lead as the set progressed to a 15-15 score. A 6-0 spurt from Bellevue gave the Bruins a 20-15 lead, to prompt a Red Raider timeout at 17-15, as the set wore on. This time the BU would hold onto their late lead and take the set by a score of 25-21.

3rd Set: Northwestern 25, Bellevue 18

Northwestern came out firing in the third set scoring the first three points en route to an early 5-2 lead for the Red Raiders. However, Bellevue stayed steady and kept within striking distance to allow for a 5-0 scoring run to take a 9-8 lead. Northwestern answered back with a 4-0 run to regain a three-point lead but the game stayed tight headed into the latter stages of the set. The Red Raiders reached the 20-point mark first, holding a three-point lead, as the Bruins called a timeout to regroup. The timeout didn't halt momentum enough as Northwestern took the set 25-18.

4th Set: Northwestern 25, Bellevue 19

Northwestern built upon the momentum they gained with their third set win as the raced out to an 8-3 lead in the fourth. The Red Raider lead yo-yoed from 3-5 points for a while before a Bellevue timeout with the score 15-9 in NWC's favor. Northwestern kept BU at arm's length the rest of the way, building an eight-point lead,  as they picked up a 25-19 to clinch the match.

Bellevue concludes Pool Play tomorrow against Lourdes at 6 p.m. The top two teams in each group advance to the single-elimination Round of 16.

Pool E Standings:

Northwestern   2-0
College of Idaho   2-0
Bellevue   0-2
Lourdes   0-2