Cougars Advances to NAIA Volleyball Final Four
SIOUX CITY, IOWA -- The Columbia College volleyball team defeated Viterbo University 3-1 on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the NAIA National Volleyball Championships. The Cougars, the No. 3 overall seed, earned the victory over the V-Hawks by scores of 25-21, 25-21, 16-25, and 25-18. Columbia improves to 41-1 on the year, their 35th straight victory, and advances to tomorrow's national semifinal, where they will take on the University of Texas at Brownsville. Viterbo ends the season with a record of 36-8.
In 19 years of coming to the NAIA National Championships, the Cougars have advanced to the semifinals 11 times including this year, winning the crown three times. This is the third straight season Columbia will compete in the semifinals.
The Cougars were unable to build more than a three-point cushion throughout the first set, but were able to close out the opening game on a run and win 25-21. The second set was less stressful for Columbia as they led 23-14 at one point. A late rally from the V-Hawks fell short as the Cougars took a 2-0 lead in the match with a 25-21 win in game two.
Viterbo responded with a strong performance in set three, leading by as many as 11 and cruising to a 25-16 win to force a fourth game in an effort to extend their season. The comeback by the V-Hawks would come up short though as Columbia jumped out to a 12-4 lead in the fourth set and held off Viterbo down the stretch to clinch the match and a spot in Saturday's semifinal round.
Junior Brooke Simpson had 16 kills to lead the Cougars and also added 12 digs in the match. Columbia received 13 kills from Trinity Ojo, along with 12 from Kahoriz Feliz. Paula Ferreira had a match-high 51 assists and Elena Berroteran contributed 20 digs to the winning effort.
Jordan Blaken led all players with 25 digs and Alicia Olson posted 16 kills to lead the V-Hawks.
The Cougars will square off against the University of Texas at Brownsville Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in a rematch of their September 8th meeting.