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This week’s feature is on Male’s Caitlyn Tino, Mercy’s Makenzie Montano, Lexie Hamrick, and Elly Burke, and Presentation’s Peyton Johnston who were a member of Lindsey Wilson’s volleyball team that went undefeated and captured the NAIA Volleyball National Championship.
From Lindsey Wilson SID
SIOUX CITY, Iowa — No. 1-ranked Lindsey Wilson capped off a perfect season with a 3-1 win over No. 4 Dordt (Iowa) in the championship match of the 2017 NAIA Volleyball National Championship, presented by Delta Hotels, at the Tyson Events Center.
Lindsey Wilson concludes a perfect season at 35-0. It is the first undefeated season since Park (Mo.) in 2014. The Blue Raiders conclude the season having lost just five sets for the entire season.
Lindsey Wilson battled a pro-Dordt crowd and a pair of injuries in the match to claim the program’s first national title.
After playing injury-free throughout the season, Makenzie Montano — the national tournament’s Most Valuable Player — and Yeniffer Ramirez each suffered injuries in the match. Montano overcame an ankle injury without missing a point in the second set. Ramirez was not as fortunate, suffering a leg injury in the third that sidelined her the remainder of the match.
The Blue Raiders finished the match out-hitting the Defenders (34-8) .262 to .169, including closing out the match with a .459 attack with no hitting errors in the final set.
Lindsey Wilson sprinted out of the gate and never looked back in a 25-16 first-set win.
Ramirez and Paulina Sobolewska each led the Blue Raiders with four kills. Defensively, Carolynne Silva recorded a pair of solo blocks and one block assist — part of three team blocks in the set.
With the Blue Raiders leading 14-11, Lindsey Wilson used a 7-1 run to break away from the Defenders — taking its largest lead of the set (21-12). Ramirez tallied two kills during the run and Sobolewska added one. Sobolewska — who earned all-tournament honors — recorded her seventh double-double in the national tournament with a career-high 20 kills and 19 digs.
Dordt committed nine errors in the set to post a .022 attacking percentage.
Sobolewska was at it again in the second frame helping the Blue Raiders to a 25-23 set win.
The Mid-South Conference Freshman of the Year recorded six kills in the set without an error. Montano added three kills and 11 assists in the frame. She finished the match with 50 assists, nine digs, and five kills.
The Blue Raiders fell behind by three points early in the set but chipped away at the Dordt lead and ultimately took its first lead of the set at 10-9. The Blue Raiders extended the lead to 15-11 as part of an 8-2 run.
Lindsey Wilson looked to be on its way to a 2-0 sets lead, taking a five-point (23-18) lead late. Dordt responded with three consecutive points before Silva provided a kill to give the Blue Raiders a set point at 24-21. Dordt saved two set points before Ramirez powered down her ninth kill of the night to give Lindsey Wilson the 25-23 second-set win.
Midway through the set — with Lindsey Wilson leading 13-10 — Montano collapsed after stepping on a Dordt players’ foot. The senior hobbled off the court and during a Lindsey Wilson timeout received treatment on the injury. When the next serve soared over the net, Montano was on the court, a place she occupied for every play during the season.
Following an extended intermission between the second and third sets, Dordt came out of the locker room with its best play of the match.
The Defenders turned the tables on the Blue Raiders with a 9-3 spurt — its best of the match — to take a 19-12 lead. Dordt ended the set with a .324 hitting percentage to trim the Lindsey Wilson lead to 2-1 in the match.
The set turned out to be the worst of the season for the Blue Raiders — scoring a season-low 20 points while losing Ramirez for the match.
With Dordt seemingly having the momentum, the Blue Raiders provided an example in the fourth set of why they are the best team in the NAIA in 2017.
With Ramirez out, Lexie Hamrick stepped in and recorded five kills in nine swings without an error. The Blue Raiders finished the fourth and the final set with 17 kills without an error to put an exclamation point on the national championship match.
Lindsey Wilson opened the set with five straight points and built as much as an 11-point lead to cruise to the 25-14 fourth-set win.
Sobolewska smacked seven kills while Burke and Hamrick added five and four kills, respectively. Burke — who was also named to the all-tournament team — finished with 11 kills and a career-high 24 digs. It marks her third double-double of the season, all coming here at the national tournament.
Caitlyn Tino and Lauren Streets added double-digit digs in the match as the Blue Raiders court coverage stood out throughout the night. Tino finished with 18 digs while Streets chipped in 14. Grace Blomstedt ended the night with eight kills and joined Silva with two solo and two assisted blocks at the net.
Following the match, Andy Cavins was named the NAIA Volleyball Coach of the Year.
Lindsey Wilson closed the tournament as the leaders in hitting percentage (.285), kills per set (15.8) and assists per set (14.9). Montano ended the tournament as the leader in assists per set (12.8).
The Lindsey Wilson senior class finishes their careers with a 142-11 record, having never lost at home (56-0). During the four years, the Blue Raiders won a national championship, appeared in two national semifinals and three national quarterfinals, won four Mid-South Conference regular-season titles and three conference tournament titles.