The Dakota Wesleyan volleyball team has proven it can win games, going 14-0 in nonconference affairs. But the Tigers have had their issues within the GPAC, entering Friday at 1-6 in the league. Briar Cliff went to Mitchell, S.D. on Friday night knowing the task would not be easy and the Chargers were dealt a 3-0 loss to DWU.
“Dakota Wesleyan is a well-developed team that gave us a lot of trouble tonight,” said BC head coach Lindsey Weatherford.
The Blue and Gold struggled early in the first set and trailed by five points early on. The Chargers battled, however, and would take a 16-14 lead in the opening game with five straight points spurred by a big kill from Tyra Blue. The two teams would go back-and-forth for the remainder of the set until Briar Cliff made a couple of errors to allow the Tigers to go ahead en route to a 25-23 set victory.
“I saw good things from Tyra tonight,” Weatherford said. “She’s a dynamic hitter and each of her seven kills came at crucial moments and fired up the team.”
Blue not only finished with seven kills, but did so without recording an attacking error and added three blocks. Her hitting percentage of .412 was the top mark for the Chargers on the night.
Set two saw runs for both teams with a few lead changes early, but eventually the home squad captured momentum and went on to take the set 25-19. The Tigers finished off the sweep by taking a big lead early in set three and holding off a Charger unit that fought back but fell 25-20.
Dakota Wesleyan’s attack was led by Rebecca Frick with 15 kills on 45 swings. Emily Brunsing was the most efficient attacker on the night, tallying nine kills with a swing rate of .421.
Victoria Gonzalez was the leader in kills for the Blue and Gold with 10. Noel Phillips had eight kills with a hitting percentage of .278. Grace Hanno totaled a game-high 15 digs while Delaney Meyer recorded a double-double with 14 digs to go along with 20 assists.
Dakota Wesleyan outblocked BC 6-4 and held a significant edge in attack percentage with a .245 compared to .146 for the Cliff. The Chargers were credited with more digs on the night by a 58-56 margin. Briar Cliff tallied three aces to six service errors. DWU had four aces to just two service errors.
The loss puts Briar Cliff’s record to 13-9 with a 3-5 mark in the GPAC. Dakota Wesleyan is 16-6 overall and 2-6 in league competition.
“The GPAC is such a tough conference where any team can win on any night,” Weatherford noted. “We’re going to have to continue to work at playing our best volleyball each and every night.”
Briar Cliff’s next contest is a road meeting the the #2 team in the country, Northwestern, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday in Orange City, Iowa.