Hastings College volleyball advances to Sioux City with five set win
Hastings, NE – It was a wild day on the court for the Hastings College volleyball team but the Lady Broncos found a way to eek out an exciting 16-25, 26-24, 25-23, 10-25, 17-15 victory over No. 23 Texas Wesleyan on Saturday night to advance to the final site of the NAIA National Volleyball Championship.
The Lady Broncos came out a bit flat as the Rams came ready to play running away with set one 25-16.
It seemed that Hastings got its sea legs back after the first set scoring the first four points of set two which was helped by two errors by the Rams and then a service ace from Makenna Asher. A Sydney Charlton attack error would make it 4-0 before TWU finally got on the board.
Hastings would hold on to that slim lead until Texas Wesleyan finally came back to tie things at 22. The teams then traded points until Peyton Roper had back-to-back kills setting up set point but the Rams got a Kendal King kill to even things at 24. Asher then went outside to Majesta Valasek for the kill to once again setup set point and this time Valasek hammered home the kill to even things at one set a piece.
Set three was once again a key set and it was a tight one as it stayed even all the way to 23-23. Asher decided to go outside to Marlee Taylor as she picked up the kill and then Hastings took the lead when King had another error to give the Lady Broncos the 25-23 set three victory.
Then crazy said it was my turn as Hastings would lose set four 25-10 as it seemed all the momentum was with the Rams as this match headed to a decisive fifth set.
Hastings was not fazed coming out scoring the first three points highlighted by kills from Taylor and Roper. Now leading 6-5, Valasek picked up a kill and then Asher caught the defense sleeping with a quick kill to make it 8-5 as the teams traded sides.
Hastings answered right away to go up 9-5 but TWU would not go quietly coming back to tie things at 10. Amani Monroe then picked up a kill from the middle followed by an ace from Asher making it 12-10. The Rams then picked up a kill from Skylar Warde and HC countered with a kill from Roper as TWU called a timeout as the arena began to prepare for a celebration.
Unfortunately, two straight attack errors by Hastings followed by a Sydney Charlton kill had the Rams just one point away from winning the match. Asher calmly worked a short set to Monroe as she tooled her attack off the block for the kill to tie things at 14. TWU countered with a King kill to setup match point again for the Rams but an Andrea Malek service error tied things at 15.
Texas Wesleyan would then look to King but her attack would go wide and match point flipped to Hastings at 16-15. After a short rally, TWU went right back to King but her attack went long and the celebration was on as the Lady Broncos stormed the court knowing they were headed back to Sioux City for the first time since 2018.
Again, you look at the stats and plenty leaned in the favor of Texas Wesleyan as the Rams finished the match hitting .212 while Hastings hit .130. TWU finished with a total of 15 blocks compared to just four for HC. Hastings had 34 attack errors to just 21 for the Rams but at the end of the day, all that matters is who won more sets and that was Hastings.
Taylor finished the night with 15 kills while hitting .200 while Roper also finished with 15 kills as she hit .128 for the match. Valasek added nine kills with Asher and Monroe each finishing with five. Miriam Miller led the team with 26 digs while Asher finished with 48 assists and four service aces.
The Lady Broncos improve to 20-13 and will await to see which pool they will play in. That announcement will come at 5 pm Sunday Nov. 20 from the NAIA.