In the first competition inside the Newman Flanagan Center for the 2019-20 academic year, the Briar Cliff women’s volleyball team defeated a Dakota Wesleyan squad that came to Sioux City sporting a 10-1 record. The Chargers took the match 3-1 (25-23, 16-25, 26-24, 25-21) to improve to 11-3 this season and 2-0 in the GPAC.
The Blue and Gold had to battle in set one as the team’s went back-and-forth early. The two teams were tied at 8 before a 5-0 run for the Chargers helped open things up. Dakota Wesleyan hung in but eventually the set went to the Cliff 25-23.
Set two was all DWU as the Tigers had a swing rate of .310 in the set after putting up a .069 in the opening game. The Chargers, meanwhile, hit a .023 in the second set and seemed to lose some of the momentum they had gained from the crowd in set one.
“In the second set we all got really tense and the crowd went down a little bit with us,” said Noel Phillips, who led all players in kills on the night with 12.
“In the third and fourth everything just lit up and the crowd really came through and helped us push,” she added.
After the break between sets two and three the Chargers woke up with the first six set points. The Tigers rebounded to make it a toss up, but never took a lead in the set as the Chargers won the extended game 26-24.
“Dakota Wesleyan is a tough team to play,” head coach Lindsey Weatherford said. “Their outside hitters are able to convert on balls that we are not used to. They were able to get us out of a rhythm.
“We really had to tighten up our defense in order to defend their very active hitters.”
Set four was another competitive one, but the Tigers only lead in the set was 1-0 and BC scored the next five en route to the set and match victory.
Rebecca Frick, who ranks second in the nation in kills per set, was held to a .103 hitting percentage as she matched Phillips’ total of 12 kills but it took Frick 58 attempts compared to 30 for Phillips.
Blue was the most efficient attacker with a swing rate of .318 while also finishing with a match-high seven blocks (two solo).
As a team the Chargers outblocked Dakota Wesleyan 14-10. Grace Whitlaw tallied six blocks for BC while Brittany Berquist was the top blocker for DWU with five.
The Chargers return home for a nonconference matchup with Mayville State at 5:30 p.m. on Friday before hitting the road for a GPAC meeting against Dordt Saturday in Sioux Center, Iowa.