The sixth seeded Augustana University Vikings volleyball team earned a thrilling five set victory Thursday afternoon over three seed Nebraska-Kearney in the first round of the NCAA Volleyball Tournament.
Augustana got on the board first on a kill from Bailey Koch but UNK quickly took a 5-4 lead. After trailing by one, the Viking scored three straight with freshman Sophia Terwilleger serving to take a 7-5 lead. The two teams remained close as neither team was able to enjoy a lead larger than three until the Vikings took a 13-10 lead. After UNK got to within one a 18-17, the Vikings scored five of the next six points to take a 23-18 lead. They held on for a 25-20 set one win.
The second set didn’t go the way of the Vikings. After leading 4-2, UNK went on a 6-0 run to take an 8-4 lead. The Vikings were able to to take a 14-12 lead on a 4-0 run of their own but UNK matched that run to make it 16-14 Lopers. The rest of the set saw UNK go on three different, 3-0 runs to take the set 25-21.
Augustana got back on the winning side in set three, jumping out to a 3-1 lead. The teams battled to a 10-10 tie before Augustana took a 12-11 lead. Midway through the set with the Vikings trailing 15-14, Augustana went on a 5-2 run to take a 19-17 lead. UNK tied the set at 20 but Augustana was able to close out the set on a 5-3 run to take the set 25-23.
In the fourth set Nebraska-Kearney jumped out to an early 8-3 lead before the Vikings were able to make it 8-6. The two point deficit would be the closest Augustana would get in the set, losing 25-17.
In the fifth and final set Nebraska-Kearney scored first before the Vikings quickly tied it at one. After a 2-2 tie UNK took a 4-2 lead before Augustana scored five of the next seven points to take a 7-6 lead. UNK tied it once again at seven but Augustana was able to take an 8-7 lead as the teams switched sides. Late in the set UNK scored two straight to tie the match at nine but Augustana grabbed the lead right back with two points of their own. Nebraska-Kearney again tied the set at 12, but Augustana locked down and scored the final three-points to take the set 15-12 and the match 3-2.
Viking of the Match
Senior setter Anna Sykora had a career day in the Vikings 5-set win over Nebraska-Kearney with a career-high 60 assists. Sykora had a double-double with 11 digs while also adding three blocks and a service ace.