NAMPA, Idaho – Upsets were in style on Thursday and the Dixie State women’s volleyball team didn’t disappoint with a 3-1 (25-15, 25-23, 20-25, 25-20) triumph over No. 1 seed Northwest Nazarene on a historic day at the NCAA Division II Volleyball Championships West Regional.
Every lower seeded team upset their opponent with No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 all going down for the first time in the West Region. Dixie State’s (21-8, 17-3) win was also the first NCAA tournament win for the Red Storm in program history. With the win, DSU advances to the semifinals and will take on PacWest rival BYU-Hawaii at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Nampa.
“The girls stepped up yet agan,” head coachRobyn Feldersaid. “All year we have struggled to finish and tonight we put it all together and finished.”
Dixie State got huge performances out of Kendahl Weiland, Lindsey Jones and Nicole Koehler. Weiland led the match with 18 kills and Jones filled the stat sheet with 16 kills, seven blocks and hit .367 fot the match. Koehler had nine kills, an ace and five blocks.
The Red Storm snapped Northwest Nazarene’s (24-3, 17-1) 11-match win streak and undefeated home season with the Crusaders playing host for the West Region.
“This is not only the biggest win of the season but the biggest in our program’s history,” Felder said. “I love it.”
DSU started out strong with a 6-2 early lead. Northwest Nazarene cut the lead back down to two but the Red Storm answered back again to stretch it to 12-8 after an ace from Shelby Sorenson. Dixie State stayed focused and got hot with a 5-0 run to make it 17-9. With the big lead intact, even with Northwest Nazarene threatening the Red Storm won it 25-15.Maddie Rex logged four kills in the first set.
The second set had the inspired Dixie State squad off to a good start again, leading it 14-12 midway through. The Crusaders put together a run however, and retook the lead 16-14 before DSU called a timeout. Out of the break, Dixie State came back to tie it 20-20. Both teams kept pace and back-to-back kills by Koehler made it 24-22. Weiland put down the final kill to push the match-lead to 2-0 and help the Storm smell the upset.
Nothing would be easy though and Northwest Nazarene started set No. 3 on a 5-1 run. Dixie State didn’t take it easy and came back to take an 8-7 lead. The Crusaders answered right back to come back and go up by four points and stayed in control the rest of the way to win the third set 25-20.
Set four began as a close one with a 9-9 tie but the Storm continued to play hard with Jones notching her 15th kill to take a 12-10 advantage. The Crusaders came back to tie it but a kill from Koehler and an unlikely but huge block by Sorenson gave the Red Storm a two-point cushion and turned the tide.
The Crusaders kept fighting but Dixie State was ready to put it away and scored the final four points to knock off the No. 1 seed 25-20 and complete the upset 3-1. Weiland had seven kills in set four to drive the upset bid to advance to tomorrow night.
The Seasiders swept the regular season matches from the Red Storm.The semifinal match against BYU-Hawaii is set for Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Nampa.
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