SIOUX CITY, IA – The Doane volleyball team made program history on Wednesday afternoon with a 3-0 win over College of the Ozarks in pool play at the NAIA National Championship. The victory, combined with a win by Viterbo over Carroll, guaranteed Doane a spot in bracket play on Friday. It marks the first time in school history that the Tigers have advanced that far at the NAIA Championship.
Doane jumped out to a commanding 7-1 lead in the opening set as four different players had kills. After a mini-run pulled the Bobcats within 9-5, the Tigers responded with an 8-3 run for a 17-8 lead to force the second Ozarks timeout. Balance in the Tiger attack continued to be the key to their efforts. Doane won the opening set 25-15 as Alexis Dale (FR/Ravenna, Neb.) picked up a kill to end the set.
After trailing in the opening stages of the second set, Doane used a 4-0 run to take a 9-6 lead. Erin Keetle (SR/Neligh, NE) picked up a kill followed by a Rachel Wieser (SR/Norfolk, Neb.) ace serve to take the lead. Dale posted a kill and then teamed up with Katie Hitz (SO/Lincoln, Neb.) for a block.
Ozarks would keep the set close and pull even at 13-all. Doane responded with a 6-0 run behind three kills and three Ozark attack errors. Kaitlin Bradley (SR/Crete, Neb.) finished out the set with a kill for a 25-19 victory in set two.
Tied at 2-all to open the third set, Doane went on a 10-1 run for a 12-3 lead. Ozarks was forced into six attack errors during the Tiger run of points. Doane pushed their lead to as many as 10 points in the set before closing out with a 25-17 win in the final set.
Bradley led the Tigers with 12 kills and a .550 attack percentage. Keetle, Dale and Maci Coffey (JR/Blue Hill, Neb.) each collected seven kills apiece. As a team the Tigers finished with 45 kills and a .318 attack percentage. Alex Neff (FR/North Platte, Neb.) dished out 36 assists for Doane.
Wieser led the Tigers with three ace serves and Bradley added the fourth for the team. Erin Warren (SO/Papillion, Neb.) had a match-high 17 digs to lead the backrow defense. Doane had 8.5 team blocks, led by Dale with six assist blocks.
Doane will close out pool play against No. 2 Viterbo on Thursday at 3 PM. The winner of the match will receive the pool’s top seed and play the second seed from Pool A. The loser will receive the second seed and play the top seed from Pool A.