After dropping a marathon of a first set, the Briar Cliff women’s volleyball team rebounded with a set two victory but couldn’t keep that mometum going as the Chargers fell 3-1 (30-28, 21-25, 25-21, 25-14) to #22 Dordt Wednesday night in the Newman Flanagan Center.
The Chargers, who earned votes in the latest NAIA coaches’ poll, looked to be an equal match against the Defenders for most of the night, but the solid Dordt squad picked it up a notch in the fourth set to claim the victory.
“Give credit to Dordt, they’ve improved since we saw them last,” said BC head coach Lindsey Weatherford. “Their defense stifled our attacks and made it seem like there were no openings in the court.”
Victoria Gonzalez led the Cliff attack with 14 kills while also cleaning up with seven digs. Analyse Stapleton was the most efficient hitter for BC with nine kills and an attack percentage of .313. Grace Hanno led the defense with 14 digs and the most recent GPAC Defensive Player of the Week Grace Whitlaw tallied four blocks.
Early in the match, it looked like Briar Cliff had an opportunity to take the first set after some Dordt miscues. The Defenders had service errors on their first three serves and Briar Cliff would take advantage and get out to an 11-7 lead. Dordt creeped back in and tied the set at 14 but didn’t get a lead in the game until going up 18-17 off a set error by the Chargers.
After that, the lead would swap four times in the extended set before the Defenders’ Ally Krommendyk finished it off with a block to put the score at 30-28 and give Dordt the 1-0 lead. The Defenders never went up by more than two points throughout the game.
The second set would go back-and-forth throughout with 12 ties and each team taking the lead twice. The Blue and Gold never trailed by more than one point and never led by more than one until a 5-0 run midway through the set. The Chargers would lead by as many as six in the game as they held off a late run by Dordt to take the set.
After the five minute break the Chargers came out on fire and jumped out to a 4-1 lead. A service error by BC gave the ball back to Dordt to serve as the Defenders took advantage with the next nine points to go up 11-4. A few runs of three by the Cliff kept things interesting, but eventually Dordt rallied to the 25-21 set win and 2-1 advantage on the scoreboard.
“I’m proud of how the girls fought,” Weatherford noted.
In set four, Briar Cliff took the first point with a Gonzalez kill but not much else went right. Dordt, after being held to an attack percentage of .160 through the first three sets, swung a .294 in the final set en route to the 25-14 win. The Chargers only mustered six kills with six errors in the final set after totaling 40 sets to 23 errors prior to the last stanza.
Dordt was led in kills by Karsyn Winterfeld with 16. Lydia Smits and Krommendyk also had double digit kill totals. Smits had 12 while Krommendyk finished with 11 kills and an attack percentage of .400. megan Raszler handled the setting duties for the Defenders, finishing with 42 of the team’s 44 assists.
The Chargers outblocked Dordt 9-8. Both teams had eight sevice errors but Dordt led in aces by a 6-2 margin. Winterfeld led all players with three service aces.
After the loss, Briar Cliff’s record dropped to 13-8 overall and 3-4 in GPAC play. Dordt improved to 4-3 in the league and 12-6 overall. The Chargers return to action on Friday against Dakota Wesleyan with first serve set for 7:30 p.m. in Mitchell, S.D.