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LWC Volleyball splits opening matches at Spartan Invitational

By Kyle Jackson

St. Louis, MO - The No. 20-ranked Lindsey Wilson volleyball team (8-2, 2-0 MSC) split their results on the opening day of the Spartan Invitational. The Blue Raiders fell to No. 1-ranked Missouri Baptist in the opening match of the invitational but rallied back to upset undefeated No. 11-ranked Central Methodist in four sets.

No. 20 Lindsey Wilson 1 | No. 1 Missouri Baptist 3 | (27-29, 25-20, 16-25, 23-25)
The Blue Raiders got off to a slow start in the first set against the defending national champions, conceding four straight points before Alix Stoermer got the first kill of the afternoon for the Blue Raiders.

Lindsey Wilson found themselves down for much of the set but a rally from Johanna Alcantara, Alexis Smith, and Radaisy Valdez brought the Blue Raiders back into things tying the match at 23-23. The Spartans were not going to go down without a fight however as they forced Lindsey Wilson out of two set points to win the set 29-27.

The Blue Raiders hadn't conceded an opening set loss since their match against No. 16-ranked Marian (IN) on August 20th in the Vette City Classic.

Lindsey Wilson continued to keep the score even with the Spartans to start the second set as the two sides stayed tied through the first ten points. A little later into the set, a combination of both Madison Bidwell and Valdez helped the Blue Raiders to open a commanding five-point lead over the Spartans as the team were hitting a .419 percent. The Blue Raiders kept that five-point lead to win the set 25-20.

It was the Spartans turn to respond in set three and they did. The top-ranked side in the NAIA produced 17 kills and forced the Blue Raiders into six errors to take the third set with a commanding score of 25-16.

The fourth set was very similar to the opening two sets as Lindsey Wilson worked hard to stay alive against the Spartans, keeping the score tied for a large majority of the set. In the end, the Spartans proved to be too much for the Blue Raiders to handle as the hosts kept a two-point lead for the final moments of the set to win 25-23 and take the game by a score of 3-1.

Valdez led things on offense for the Blue Raiders recording 16 kills on the afternoon. Alcantara put down 12 kills of her own while Bidwell hit 10 kills for the Blue Raiders. Camryn Rich recorded 50 assists with Abby Grubbs (13), Lauren Larzelere (13), and Rich (11) all had double-digit digs.

No. 20 Lindsey Wilson 3 | No. 11 Central Methodist 1 | (31-29, 18-25, 27-25, 25-14)
The Blue Raiders started their second game of the day much better than the earlier match as the team opened a three-point lead on the Eagles and continued to build on it throughout the set. However, Lindsey Wilson found themselves on rocky ground as the Eagles pushed back late in the set to tie the match six times. The Blue Raiders were able to weather the storm with a massive 31-29 set win thanks to a kill from Alcantara and an error from the Eagles.

Alcantara picked up where she left off in the previous match, finishing the first set with seven kills, while Bidwell and Valdez had four kills. Lindsey Wilson, who had 11 errors in the set, still managed to win the set with 23 total kills and a hitting percentage of .197.

Central Methodist copied the plan of attack from Lindsey Wilson in the second set, keeping a lead and building on it for a large majority of the set. The Blue Raiders pushed back later, cutting the lead to within four at 20-16 but the Eagles held on, winning the set 25-18 to tie the match 1-1.

The momentum swung back in the favor of the Blue Raiders in the third set, as the side kept a two-point lead. Again, the Eagles proved they wouldn't go down without a fight as Central Methodist tied the match seven times before Valdez secured the winning point to win the set 27-25 and help the Blue Raiders take a 2-1 match lead.

Lindsey Wilson began the fourth set in a commanding fashion, opening a five-point lead on the Eagles to start things off. That lead continued to get bigger as the set went on with the Blue Raiders pushing the lead to a 10-point advantage at 22-12, forcing the Eagles into a timeout. Bidwell secured the winning point moments later to win the set 25-14 and the match 3-1 for Lindsey Wilson.

It was a record-setting night as four Blue Raiders recorded new career highs after their performance against the Eagles. Alcantara and Valdez led the offense for the Blue Raiders with both players setting new career highs in kills for a single match. Alcantara finishing the game with 23 kills and Valdez finishing with 17 kills. Rich set a new career-high in assists with 55 tonight while Larzelere set a new career-high in digs with 36 against the Eagles.

The Blue Raiders continue the Spartan Invitational tomorrow morning when they take on Xavier (La.). First serve is scheduled for 10 a.m. CT.

This story was posted on 2021-09-11 11:45:46
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