Sioux City, IA – The Hastings College volleyball team earned its second straight sweep at the 2017 NAIA Volleyball National Championships defeating No. 18 Madonna 25-14, 25-20, 25-17 in Pool C play on Wednesday morning at the Tyson Events Center.
It was a fairly tight first set with the Crusaders as the Broncos held a 12-10 advantage when Emily Filsinger(SR/Clearwater, NE) stepped back to serve. First,Andrea LaVene (SR/Roca, NE) picked up a kill of theKatie Placke (SR/Grand Island, NE) set. Filsinger backed that up with her first of four service aces on the day.
After a Madonna attack error, LaVene hammered home the Placke set as Hastings pushed its lead to 16-10 and was far from being done. Filsinger racked up another service ace followed by a double block from Casey Krolikowski (JR/Cairo, NE) and LaVene with Filsinger finishing off the run with another service ace to lead 19-10. Hastings pulled away for the 25-14 set one victory.
Head Coach Matt Buttermore talked about how big that run was for his team, “That was a huge run for us you know where you can take over a match,” Buttermore continued. “When you can’t pass the ball it creates a big momentum shift as it’s so hard to score points. She (Filsinger) is able to put four or five good serves on them in a row which really opened things up.”
Late in set two with Hastings leading 22-20, Placke would go back outside to Krolikowski as she would pick up the kill to make it 23-20. Then Placke along with Lucy Skoch (FR/Hastings, NE) teamed up for a block for the 24-20 lead. Then to finish off set four,Clare Hamburger (JR/Hastings, NE) set Placke on the right side as she does what she does best and that is put away the set winner for the commanding 2-0 lead in the match.
Hastings steadily pulled away in set three for sweep as Placke had a monstrous day picking up 11 kills while hitting .733.
“She hit .733 today, I didn’t realize until I saw the stats,” Buttermore said in astonishment. “She is playing like Katie, we need her to keep it going so we are going to go make sure she has everything she needs. She’s a competitor, she wants to do her best at all times in anything she does so I’m not surprised.”
Lest not forget LaVene in the middle who had herself quite the day picking up 11 kills while hitting .667. As a team, Hastings hit .407 compared to just .154 for the Crusaders.
“I think we are a pretty dynamic team, we always have three hitters up,” said Placke on her teams play. “Every hitter at all times is capable of having great swings so I think having three hitters up at all times along with getting the other team out of system with mixing our sets up. But we are such a dynamic team, we have great chemistry which helps a lot.”
Jill Bax (SR/Lincoln, NE) led the team with 14 digs while Krolikowski added 12. Placke led the way with 21 assists as Hamburger added 18. Krolikowski also added eight kills while Matti Dabovich (JR/Pueblo West, CO) had seven kills while hitting .545.
The Broncos move to 27-2 and will be back in action Thursday Nov. 30 taking on No. 14 Montana Tech with first serve set for 12:00 p.m. in the Tyson Events Center.
Also, with Montana Tech defeating Embry-Riddle today, Hastings and Montana Tech both will move on into the knock out stage and tomorrow’s game will determine the winner of Pool C.