Bronco volleyball sweeps past gritty Ottawa squad

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Sioux City, IA -- The Hastings College volleyball team was challenged in each set but came away with the 25-23, 25-22, 26-24 sweep of No. 20 Ottawa in pool play action of the NAIA Volleyball National Championship on Tuesday in the Tyson Events Center.

Early in set one, the Broncos were able to build a bit of a lead at 11-7 behind a service ace from Rielyn Hoffman (SR/Chandler, AZ) and two errors by the Braves. From there the teams would match point for point until a service error by the Braves and a block from Ally Ginkens (JR/Mullen, NE) and Emily Lenners (JR/Adams, NE) forced an Ottawa timeout with HC leading 19-15.

After the Braves answered off an error, Hastings countered will kills from Lenners and Sage Meyer (SR/Bellevue, NE) to lead 21-16. Hastings would maintain that lead up to set point when the Braves made things interesting at 24-23 but a service error ended the first set with Hastings winning 25-23.

Ottawa came out strong in set two building an 18-15 lead before the Broncos would run off four straight points behind the kills from Meyer and Lucy Skoch (SO/Hastings, NE).

The two teams battled to a 22-22 tie when Claira Thede (SO/St. Paul, NE) connected with Lenners in the middle for the kill. Matti Dabovich (SR/Pueblo West, CO) and Lenners then teamed up for a block forcing an Ottawa timeout with HC leading 24-22. After the timeout, Lenners put the set away with another kill to give the Broncos a commanding two sets to zero lead.

Ottawa again came out fast in set three building a 15-11 lead before the Broncos would find yet another answer. It all began with a solo block from Lenners and she backed that up with another kill to make it 15-13. Following an attack error by the Braves, Cassidy Ostrand (JR/Central City, NE) picked up back-to-back service aces forcing a timeout as HC now led 16-15.

Ottawa would not go out without a fight coming back to being on the brink of forcing a game four leading 24-22 but Hastings had other ideas. First, Thede snuck a quick set over the net into the donut hole for the point and then Lenners would take over from there. She connected on three straight kills to end the match including two back-to-back kills off the Clare Hamburger (SR/Hastings, NE) assist to end the match.

Lenners finished the day matching her career high with 12 kills while hitting .423. She also had her hand in on seven blocks. Skoch finished with 11 kills hitting .330 for the match.

Thede finished the match with a team high 17 assists while Hamburger added 14. Casey Krolikowski (SR/Cairo, NE) led the team with 16 digs. Meyer added eight kills and 11 digs.

As a team, Hastings hit .211 while holding the Braves to .140.

Hastings improves to 20-6 on the year and will be back in action Wednesday Nov. 28 continuing pool play action against Trinity Christian with first serve set for 12:00 p.m. in the Tyson Events Center.