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Volleyball: LWC opens NAIA pool play on Tuesday

By Kyle Jackson

The Lindsey Wilson volleyball team's quest for a second national championship rolls into pool play on Tuesday, November 30, 2021. The No. 23-ranked Blue Raiders will face arguably their toughest test of the season when they open the day against No. 5-ranked Providence (MT) before closing the round robin versus fellow Mid-South Conference member No. 10-ranked Life (GA).

The Tyson Event Center in Sioux City, Iowa, will serve as the venue for the women's volleyball national championship for the 14th-straight season. This year's field includes 24 teams divided into eight pools with three teams in each pool. The top team out of each group will advance to the single-elimination bracket starting on December 2.

No. 5-ranked Providence (26-2, 10-0 FC) enters pool play on a 19-game win streak after defeating Florida College in straight sets on Nov. 20 in the NAIA First Round.

The Argos claimed their automatic bid to the NAIA National Championship back in November after defeating Carroll (MT) in straight sets in the Frontier Conference Tournament Championship.

Jenna Thorne leads the side in kills per set averaging 3.44 while Cydney Finberg-Roberts leads the team in assists per set averaging 10.86 per set. Defensively, Sacha Legros leads the team with 6.31 digs per set which ranks fifth in the NAIA. As a team, the Argos are hitting .205 and average 13.10 kills per set. The team boasts a great defensive record ranking third in the nation in digs per set at 20.57 and fourth in blocks per set at 2.60.

This will be the first all-time meeting between these two programs.

No. 10 Life (33-2, 16-0 MSC) enters pool play after defeating Xavier (LA) in the NAIA First Round in straight sets.

The Running Eagles earned their automatic bid to the NAIA National Championship after claiming the Mid-South Conference regular season. The Blue Raiders defeated the Running Eagles in straight sets in this season's Mid-South Conference Tournament championship game.

Lena Pucnik paces the Running Eagles in kills per set averaging 3.69 while Jessie Prichard leads the team in assists averaging 11.74, the fourth-highest assist rate in the NAIA. Defensively, Marin Black leads the team averaging 5.61. As a team, the Running Eagles are hitting .245 and rank seventh in the nation in kills per set averaging 14.08. They also rank seventh in assists per set averaging 13.17 while boasting another seventh-place ranking in service aces per set averaging 2.35.

This will be the 19th all-time meeting between the two programs and the fourth time the two sides have met this season. The Blue Raiders hold a 15-3 all-time record against the Running Eagles and are undefeated all-time (4-0) at neutral venues against Life.

Currently riding a seven-match win streak that includes a seventh straight Mid-South Conference tournament title, the No. 23-ranked Lindsey Wilson volleyball team (25-5, 13-3 MSC) enters pool play after defeating (RV) Ottawa (KS) 3-1 in the First Round of play.

Johanna Alcantara continues to lead the team in kills per set averaging 3.69 while Radaisy Valdez sports an NAIA-best .472 hitting percentage to go along with 98 total blocks. Camryn Rich, who ranks 15th in the NAIA in assists per game leads the team in that category averaging 10.54 per set. Defensively, Lauren Larzelere leads the team in digs per set averaging 4.34 per set.

The Blue Raiders hold an 18-8 record in pool play and will need victories on Tuesday to advance to Bracket Play later this week.

The Blue Raiders begin their day at 10:30amCT against No. 5 Providence, then conclude at 5pmCT against No. 10 Life. The Argos and Running Eagles will square off on Wednesday at 1pmCT.

This story was posted on 2021-11-29 16:18:32
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