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St. Norbert Battles Back From Brink In MWC Tournament Win

From Asst. AD/Athletics Communications, November 8, 2019 | Women's Volleyball
by Dan Lukes,, (920) 403-4077

MOUNT VERNON, Iowa - Trailing two sets to one and facing five season-ending match points, the St. Norbert College women's volleyball team wiped the dirt from its face, climbed out of an immense hole and stayed alive for at least one more day with an improbable 3-2 win over Illinois College in a Midwest Conference Tournament semifinal at Cornell College's Multi-Sport Center.

The Green Knights (24-8) escaped with a 25-15, 22-25, 14-25, 26-24, 15-13 victory over the stunned Lady Blues (21-8). St. Norbert will face Grinnell College at 1 p.m. Saturday in the MWC Tournament championship match with an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Tournament at stake. Grinnell tripped top-seeding Cornell 3-1 in the other semifinal.

The situation appeared beyond dire for St. Norbert at the end of the fourth set. The Green Knights and Lady Blues were tied 17-17 before Illinois College rattled off four straight points for some breathing room and a 21-17 lead. The Lady Blues extended their lead to 24-19 and were poised to put an end to St. Norbert's season. Illinois College's Ali Pankey had a hitting error to give St. Norbert a side-out and give the Green Knights' top server, Jessica Geurts, one last-ditch chance to keep the season alive.

Geurts and her teammates came through, delivering six more points to take the set. Geurts totaled three service aces, sprinkled in with a block by Haley Bartz and Lexie Van Hiel to tie the set 24-24. Van Hiel then had a kill for a 25-24 lead, while Grace Baumann put a ball to the floor to climax the rally and force a fifth set.

St. Norbert trailed the fifth set 5-3 before a kill by Emily Rohloff gave the serve to the Green Knights. Liz Maastricht then served for six consecutive points, which included two service aces and a kill by Geurts, for a 10-5 lead. St. Norbert led 12-8 before Illinois College mounted a furious rally of its own, scoring five of the next six points for a 13-13 tie. But Haley Bartz would get a kill to push St. Norbert up by one, and Geurts came through with her sixth ace of the match to lock up a wild victory.

St. Norbert hit .189 for the match, getting 63 kills with 30 errors in 175 attempts. Baumann totaled 20 kills, while Van Hiel had 12 and Bartz 11. Geurts added nine kills along with her six aces. Rohloff compiled 52 assists.

Baumann had 21 digs, followed by Rohloff with 20 and Liz Maastricht with 18. Van Hiel had seven blocks, while Rohloff had three.

Illinois College hit .215 with 58 kills and 21 errors in 172 attempts. Pankey had 14 kills, while Madison Klanke added 12. Elizabeth Ganley had 54 assists, while Pankey had 23 digs.

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