No. 3 Columbia edges Hastings in slugfest

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Hastings, NE -- The Hastings College volleyball team looked strong when they played the No. 3 Columbia Cougars on Friday, but the boxscore said a different story when Columbia swept Hastings 25-19, 27-25, 36-34.

Sage Meyer (SR/Bellevue, NE) and Lucy Skoch (SO/Hastings, NE) got the Broncos (5-1) going in set one with three consecutive kills, starting a 5-1 run for the Broncos. Both the Broncos and the Cougars traded blows until Hastings took a 10-4 lead.

Columbia answered with a run of their own, taking eight straight rallies to take a 12-10 lead over the Broncos.

Knotted at 14 a piece, Ally Ginkens (JR/Mullen, NE) was able to get a service ace to take a 15-14 lead over the Cougars. This, unfortunately for the Broncos, was followed by a service error and five more Cougar points for a 20-15 Cougars lead. Columbia rode this lead to their 25-18 set one win over the Broncos.

Set two saw little separation from beginning to end. Both teams stayed within one of each other, until Hastings took a 7-4 lead over the Cougars, but three straight points for the Cougars got the score knotted again. Another back-and-forth affair occurred, but Columbia took three straight rallies to get ahead of the Broncos 18-14.

With a 23-20 lead, the Broncos found themselves on the wrong side of yet another run, this time a 5-1 Cougars' run to allow Columbia to take a 25-24 lead over the Broncos. Hastings was able to tie the set 25-25 with a Matti Dabovich (SR/Pueblo West, CO) kill, but straight points for the Cougars allow them to take set two 27-25 and take a 2-0 match lead over Hastings.

It looked like set three would have the same teeter-totter score to it at the beginning, but with a 6-5 lead for the Cougars, Columbia went on a 5-0 run to get ahead of the Broncos 11-5.

The Broncos fell behind the Cougars 19-13, but Hastings rattled off a 10-2 run to take a 23-21 lead over the Cougars. This lead was short-lived with another pesky run by the Cougars made it a 24-24 game.

What happened next was not something either team would have expected in that the set would go to 70 rallies. Both teams had grabbed the lead multiple times, but neither team could get the set point until, with a 34-34 tie, Columbia collected the two points they needed to win the raucous-inducing slugfest.

As teams, Hastings and Columbia were extremely even. Leading the Broncos offensively were Skoch and Meyer. Skoch had a team-high 15 kills alongside Meyer's 11 kills.

Claira Thede (SO/St. Paul, NE) and Clare Hamburger (SR/Hastings, NE) led the Broncos with 18 and 15 assists respectively, along with Hamburger's team-high 12 digs. Casey Krolikowski (SR/Cairo, NE) had 10 digs.

Hastings takes the court again when they take on the MidAmerica Nazarene Pioneers on Saturday. First serve is set for 12 p.m. CST.