Beaver Volleyball Advances to IIAC Tournament Championship with Sweep of Norse

Photo courtsey of Loras College Athletics.
Photo courtsey of Loras College Athletics.

The last loss for the Buena Vista volleyball team came against Luther College back in September, but the Beavers avenged that loss in a big way to win their 12th straight match and advance into tomorrow afternoon's Iowa Conference Tournament Championship match with their 3-0 win over the Norse in Friday's semifinal contest inside of the US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Senior Jade Schaap made sure her career would live on at least one more day, as she turned in a match-high 23 kills to set a new school record for a single-match. The previous mark was 22 set back in 2006 by Ashley Wilde (twice).  Schaap did not have a single error in the contest and finished with a .411 hitting percentage.  She also added eight digs and one block assist.  Fellow senior Jamie Navinskey was next at nine kills, and she had a big day defensively with 17 digs and a block assist.

As a team, BVU turned in 44 kills and had a .242 attack percentage.  Mackenzie Gropel dished out 42 assists which is the seventh-highest total in a three-set match in program history.  She just missed out on a double-double with nine digs.  Sophomore Summer Goss turned in a match-high 19 digs while Kylie Roe chipped in with 10.

BVU had lost its previous three meetings against the Norse in the IIAC Tournament.  The last time the two had met in postseason play was back in 1998 when Luther picked up a 3-0 win.

It was a tight match from start to finish with neither team able to build more than a three-point lead at any point in the match.  The Norse held a 21-18 lead late in the first set, and after a BVU timeout, the Beavers ran off three straight points to tie it back up at 21-21.  Luther then called timeout and would take a 22-21 but a pair of costly hitting errors by Luther down the stretch helped BVU get a 25-23 win.

Two straight hitting errors by BVU to start the second gave the Norse an early 4-1 lead.  BVU came back to tie it at 7-7, marking the first of six ties in the set.  BVU did not lead in the set until a Schaap kill made it 14-13.  It was later all-square at 20-20 before a kill from Schaap and back-to-back ace serves from Allie Cooke made it 23-20.  Luther fought back to 24-23 but a kill by Sandvig put BVU up 2-0.

Luther again led in the early going of the third set until Schaap put BVU in front for the first time at 8-7.  The Beavers led by as much as three at 13-10 midway through the set before the Norse put up a late rally to build an 18-15 advantage.  Luther remained in front 21-18 and forced the final BVU timeout.  BVU then came to life with three straight kills, including two more from Schaap, to go along with a Luther attack error.  Two straight points by the Norse gave them the lead back at 23-22, but BVU closed things out late with an attack error and a bad set by the Norse.

Karissa Kime turned in 13 kills and 18 digs to lead the way for Luther which ends its season at 16-10.

Buena Vista runs its record to 22-9 on the year and will face the winner of #4 Dubuque / #1 Wartburg in Saturday's championship match that is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. inside of the US Cellular Center.