Lakeland moves on to NAC Tournament final
Athletics - posted on 11/6/2008
Despite surrendering a lead in the third set, the Lakeland women's volleyball team recovered for a 25-17, 25-13, 22-25, 25-23 victory over Benedictine University in a Northern Athletics Conference Tournament semifinal on Thursday night at Lakeland.
With the win, the top-seeded Muskies advance to the NAC Tournament final against No. 3 Concordia Wisconsin, which defeated No. 2 Concordia Chicago in five sets on Thursday.
The Muskies (24-10) cruised through the first two sets and held a 12-5 advantage in the third. However, the fourth-seeded Eagles (17-16) made a run and pushed the match to a fourth set, taking the momentum away from the Muskies.
"We played with purpose and focus through the first two and a half sets," Lakeland head coach Chad Schreiber said. "Then I'm not really sure what happened. We didn't make plays, and Benedictine stepped up their play. Their right side attackers took better swings and they served more aggressively."
The Muskies were also shaky in the fourth set, but narrowly pulled out the set and the match.
"We were steady throughout the fourth set, but our ball control couldn't dictate what Benedictine's defense had to do," Schreiber said. "We need our first touch ball control to be a lot better."
Junior middle hitter Brittanie Paulus (Belgium) paced the Muskies with 15 kills and 16 digs. Senior setter Jessica Sparling (Addison, Ill.) contributed a steady 46 assists.
Lakeland, the tournament's defending champion, and Concordia Wisconsin will play for the NAC Tournament title this Saturday at 3 p.m. at Lakeland. The Muskies edged the Falcons 25-16, 22-25, 20-25, 25-16, 15-8 during the regular season in a home match back on Sept. 18.
The winner of the match will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament, which begins on Thursday Nov. 13.
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