SIOUX CITY, Iowa (DWU) — Pool “F” top seed Dakota Wesleyan volleyball had no issues with the Raiders of Southern Oregon in the first and second set with scores of 25-15 and 25-15. The Tigers trailed by their largest margin of the match in the third set, before clawing back and rallying behind tiger nation to get the third set win 25-21, securing the sweep.
It didn’t take long for the top seeded DWU Tigers to settle into court two on the south end of the Tyson Events Center for their first pool play match of the tournament. Southern Oregon was able to hang with Dakota Wesleyan right away as Madeline Else set up either Ady Dwight, Mariah Gloe, or Mackenzie Miller all for kills; the SOU Raiders also set their big attackers right away. SOU achieved their first lead of the opening set after a service ace on the tail end of a three nothing run. DWU was able to side out on the following rally, sending Gloe back to serve. The Tigers regained the lead by one point, 9-8 on an assisted block from Miller and Emily Dale, followed by another hard hitting kill from Miller to put DWU ahead by two, 10-8. The Tigers run didn’t end there it was just put on pause as Southern Oregon called for a timeout in hopes to stop it. DWU earned one more point once play resumed to lead by three, 11-8. The lead was short lived though, as SOU rallied back with a three-point run of their own, tying the game at 11 all. After a service error by the Raiders, Dannielle Burns got sent back to serve as the Tigers looked to push their lead. Dakota Wesleyan did just that, going on a 6-2 run pushing the margin out to five, 18-13, forcing SOU to burn their second timeout of the set. Once the players returned to the court, the Raiders grabbed one point right away, but it wasn’t enough to close their deficit as the Tigers went on a 7-1 run with kills from Dwight, Miller, and Gloe; along with three different assisted blocks to win the opening set 25-15.
Leading the match one set to none, The Tigers didn’t waste any time grabbing their lead and running with it. Before you knew it, DWU was leading 10-4, then 15-6 forcing SOU to burn both of their timeouts in that short stretch. Dakota Wesleyan continued to dominate Southern Oregon through the score of 23-10. The Raiders tried making a late push to climb back into the set, but it wasn’t enough as Miller sent home set point and DWU grabbed the second set win by the same margin as the first, 25-15, and was now ahead in the match, 2-0.
Southern Oregon did all they could to stay alive in the match, starting set three with an 8-3 lead over the Tigers making it their largest deficit of the evening. Dakota Wesleyan didn’t take long to get back into the swing of things after trailing by five for the first time in the match, they were able to close the margin to just two points, 10-8 with an SOU attacking error and kills from Miller and Dwight. With the Tigers starting to close in on the Raiders, Southern Oregon called for their first timeout of the set. SOU continued to play strong after the timeout, but DWU was able to keep the score close forcing yet another timeout from the Raiders as the Tigers trailed by one, 17-16. Once the set got back underway, the Tigers went on a massive 6-1 run as they now were leading for the first time in the third set 22-18. As Southern Oregon had no timeouts left, and the Tigers holding one, DWU continued to find the textile sport court of the Tyson Events Center and Fleet Farm Arena as Brunsing got the Tigers to 23-points, an assisted block from Else and Dwight set Dakota Wesleyan at match point. Southern Oregon grabbed one final point on an assisted block, then Emily Dale; sent the final point to the floor and the Tigers sealed the first win in pool play three sets to none.
Dakota Wesleyan hit nearly even across the three sets, going .265 percent in the first, .262 in the second, and .238 in the third. Southern Oregon hit .000 in the first set, .022 in the second, and .204 in the third. As a team, DWU posted 43 kills, 118 total attacks, and a .254 hitting percentage with 41 assists, 67 digs, and 24 total blocks. Dwight led the Tigers with 19 kills on 39 attacks and four errors to hit .385; while Miller posted 11 kills on 26 attacks and five errors to hit .231. Else notched 37 assists, six digs, and three blocks, while Hanna Reiff and Gloe recorded 20 and 16 digs, respectively.
The Tigers will have an off day before playing their second pool play match in the new format for this year. Dakota Wesleyan will play on court number two again on Friday, December 2 when they square off against the pool’s second seed MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.). The Tigers and MNU Pioneer with get things rolling at 7 p.m. in a match that determines who advances to the quarterfinals on December 3 and who goes home. The Pioneers will play their first pool match of the tournament tomorrow evening against the Raiders.