SIOUX CITY, Iowa (NORTHWESTERN) – The No. 8-ranked Northwestern College volleyball team (22-8, 11-5 GPAC) opened Pool Play at the 2022 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national tournament with a tough four-set loss to No. 21-ranked Marian University (Ind.) (25-6, 13-5 CL) Wednesday afternoon inside the Tyson Events Center.

In the fourth set, sophomore Olivia Granstra (Sheldon, Iowa) notched her 1,000th career dig in a Red Raider uniform. She became the 22nd Raider in program history to hit 1,000 digs, as she recorded 43 in the match this afternoon. Additionally, the mark set a new career-high.

The match started with a Jadeyn Schutt (Sr., Orange City, Iowa) service ace, as the Raiders jumped out to a 7-3 advantage early. The Knights would battle back and tie it up at 7-7, but a service error would swing momentum back to the Northwestern side. The match would stay tightly contested, neither team gaining a true advantage. The Knights would tie it up at 21-21 late. A Marian point would give them a 22-21 lead and the Raiders would take their first time out of the set. Marian would take a 24-22 set point lead, as a Skyler Van Note kill would secure the first set for the Knights.

Northwestern took their first lead of the second set (7-6) thanks to a beautiful service ace from Jazlin De Haan (So., Orange City, Iowa) right on the line. That came as part of a six-point run for the Red Raiders. A four-point spurt gave NWC the 15-9 lead, forcing Marian to use a time out. The Raiders kept the Knights at arm’s length the rest of the set, ultimately prevailing 25-20 to even the match at one set a piece.

The third set would see the Knights jump out to a 9-4 lead, forcing the Raiders to use an early time out. Northwestern would begin to chip away at the deficit, quickly making it 10-8 out of the break. Back-to-back kills would find Northwestern down just two points again (14-12), as another long rally and kill by Bekah Horstman (Sr., Pella, Iowa) would make it just a one-point Knight lead. It would be tied up at 16-16 before Marian would tally three-straight points and would go on to take the set 25-22.

Marian kept the momentum in the fourth set with back-to-back blocks. Trailing 18-12 in the fourth set, NWC turned it on with a 3-1 run to cut the deficit to four at 19-15. Three-straight points kept Northwestern in the set – and match – as the Raiders looked to force a fifth set. The Raiders would get within 22-21 in the set, but would fall just short as Marian would record three-straight points to take the match 3-1.

MATCH NOTES:
Olivia Granstra’s 43 digs today sits second in program history for digs in a single match, trailing Kelli Vermeer’s 44 digs in 2002.
Marian hit .211 to NWC’s .170 on the match.
Both teams recorded 100+ digs, with Marian holding the edge 108-102.
Northwestern held the edge in total blocks (10-8), led by Bekah Horstman and her six blocks.
The Raiders notched 12 service aces for the third time this season.
Alysen Dexter and Horstman led the team with 14 kills, Horstman hitting .343 (14-2-35).
Liv Reitsma recorded a match-high 42 assists.
Jadeyn Schutt and Jazlin De Haan both had four service aces.
Up Next: Northwestern will play their second – and final – Pool Play game on Friday, December 2 against Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) (Texas). First serve from Court 2 is tentatively scheduled for 4:00 p.m. inside the Tyson Events Center.