Isabel Pheifer—Staff Writer
Editor’s note: The Dordt women’s volleyball team won its first two games in the NAIA championship tournament this week, advancing to the quarterfinals after a thrilling 5-set win over the nation’s second ranked team.
On Saturday, April 17, the Defenders took on the MidAmerica Nazarene Pioneers in the opening round of the NAIA Women’s Volleyball Championship.
Each set featured a competitive push, but the Defenders were able to walk away with a win in just three sets. In the first set, the Defenders got up 16-11, but the Pioneers battled back and were eventually able to tie it up at 18-18. The lead was then taken by the Pioneers at 20-19, but a point off a service error and a kill from sophomore outside hitter Corrina Timmermans gave Dordt the lead yet again. Finally, the set was ended by a forceful kill from junior opposite hitter Alli Timmermans.
After nearly losing the first set, the Defenders made sure to come out strong in the second set. Sophomore middle blocker Brenna Krommendyk started it off with a bang, putting down two kills to get the Defenders up 2-1. The momentum kept rolling for the Defenders, eventually getting up 15-11. The Pioneers were never able to come back from this deficit, and Corrina Timmermans put scored two kills at the end of the set to secure the 25-17 win with ease.
The Defenders kept the momentum from the second set going, coming out strong in the third set with a 2-1 lead. The set went back and forth a little bit, until Alli Timmermans scored four of Dordt’s last five points. This helped the Defenders roll to a 25-20 win. With the win in the third set, the Defenders walked away with a 3-0 victory that sent them to the final site of the NAIA national tournament in Sioux City.
“I was really pleased with our performance in the MNU match as we showed a tenacity and consistency that we had been working for weeks to develop,” Chad Hanson, the head coach, said.
The Defenders were led by the duo of Alli Timmermans and Corrina Timmermans, who had thirteen and twelve kills, respectively. Sophomore middle blocker Brenna Krommendyk and junior middle blocker Jessi De Jager were menaces at the net, with Krommendyk registering seven kills and three block assists. De Jager tallied nine kills and four block assists. Sophomore setter Megan Raszler and junior setter Corina Beimers dished out the assists, with Raszler totaling twenty-six and Beimers getting thirteen. Senior defensive specialist Hannah Connelly took control of the back row, surmounting a team-high twenty-two digs. Dordt only had four service errors and was able to register six blocks and achieve a .364 kill efficiency.
In a year plagued with difficulties and restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, making it to the final site of the National Tournament seems like the light at the end of the tunnel. “Making the final site and playing in Sioux City was one of our season goals this year.” Hanson said. “To be able to do so in the COVID pandemic season is especially exciting, as additional variables have made this season challenging for every team.”
The Defenders will travel to Sioux City and begin play on Tuesday, April 27. The 24-team field is divided into eight pools of three teams, and the Defenders are in Pool B, which also features Park (Missouri), and Bellevue (Nebraska).