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WATERTOWN - Maranatha Baptist Bible College withstood a strong challenge from the Lakeland College women's volleyball team, winning the final two sets to defeat the Muskies in four sets in a Northern Athletics Conference Tournament quarterfinal match Tuesday night.
The fourth-seeded Crusaders came on late to defeat the No. 5 seed Muskies 25-23, 24-26, 25-19, 25-17. Maranatha (19-3 overall) advances to the tourney semifinals to face top seed Edgewood College Thursday evening, while Lakeland's season comes to an end with a 17-10 record.
The Muskies stepped up against the heavy hitting Crusaders, recording 53 kills to Maranatha Baptist's 45 kills. Lakeland also finished with more attack errors, though, and also committed 13 service errors.
The Muskies cooled off in the final two sets after standing toe-to-toe with Maranatha in the first two sets. Lakleand hit just .035 over the final two sets with 20 kills to 17 errors, this coming after posting a solid .202 hitting percentage in the first half of the match.
The Crusaders came through in the second half of both the third and fourth sets to win comfortably in sets in which Lakeland was in good position to win for some time. The Muskies were down just one point at 19-18 in the third set before Maranatha Baptist closed on a 6-1 run, and Lakeland also was tied at 12-12 and still trailed just 17-14 before the Crusaders closed the match with eight of the final 11 points.
Lakeland held a slim lead for a good share of both the first and second sets before both ultimately came down to the wire. The Muskies rallied from an early three-point deficit in the first set to take a pair of three-point leads, the latest at 21-18. The Crusaders closed back in, though, and concluded the set with the final three points to come from behind to win.
The Muskies again had a three-point lead late in the second set, the latest coming when an attack error gave Lakeland set point at 24-21. Maranatha rallied to tie it, though, after a kill and two service aces by Torey DeLozier, but the Muskies rallied back to close it out behind kills by Katie Freitag (Jr.-Kiel, Wis.) and Amanda Dillman (Jr.-Sheboygan, Wis.).
Dillman led Lakeland with a season high 16 kills as well as five blocks. Freitag also added 10 kills and five blocks and Caleigh Galvan (Fr.-New Lenox, Ill.) returned to the lineup with nine kills and a team high 19 digs. Anna Faust (Jr.-Cross Plains, Wis.) and Melissa Christiansen (Jr.-Valders, Wis.) both added 16 digs each and Brittany Reindl (Jr.-Kenosha, Wis.) led the Muskies with 41 assists. Taylor Daus (Sr.-Green Bay, Wis.) finished with six kills and five digs in her final collegiate match.
DeLozier, the NCAA Division III leader in kills per set, led Maranatha Baptist with 18 kills. Laci Peterson added 16 kills and hit just three errors for a .295 attack percentage.