By RICK SOLEM
PHOTO: Nate Beier/gx3media.smugmug.com
It was quite the swing of emotions Saturday night at Viterbo University.
First, its 10th-ranked volleyball team fell behind two sets to none in the conference championship to No. 14 Grand View.
Then, somehow, it came back to force a fifth set.
In that final set, the V-Hawks found themselves down 14-11 and watched as their block of Taylor Wells was called out. Game over. Grand View wins 15-11 and punches its automatic bid to the NAIA tournament.
Officials reviewed the call, as most of the crowd had already done so themselves, and it was determined that Wells’ hit had actually not been blocked. Wells hit the net and the ball fell out of bounds on Grand View’s side. Point Viterbo and the game continued.
And continued, until Natalie Geidel and Brianna Brinkman won it on back-to-back plays for the V-Hawks.
First Brinkman assisted Geidel for a kill. Then the two blocked Erin Roggenburg for the win and the automatic bid to the NAIA tourney.
In the end, it ended up a 3-2 (22-25,16-25,25-10,25-19, 20-18) win – the second time in three years – Viterbo’s 35th of the year. Giving it the regular-season and tournament sweep of the MCC championships.
UPDATE: The V-Hawks have a first-round bye for and then open pool play in Sioux City, Iowa beginning Dec. 2. Those teams will be determined at 5 p.m. Nov. 23. The top two teams from each pool advance to the championship Dec. 5.
It was a little bit more interesting than when the V-Hawks (35-7) swept Grand View (25-13) on Sept. 24.
The difference in Saturday’s match may have been Alicia Olson. She had just 10 kills in the first two sets. In the third, she had 10 more. The V-Hawks got down 4-1 in the fourth set before a flurry of Olson kills helped them take a 6-5 lead and they never trailed in the set again.
Then came the decisive fifth set, which featured nine ties and six lead changes – the last, of course, leading to a V-Hawks win.
Olson finished with 28 kills, 13 digs. Brinkman had 56 assists. Greene had nine kills, 10 block-assists and Jennifer Krentz had 34 digs to lead Viterbo.