MITCHELL, S.D. – Elizabeth Hardacre had 13 kills and hit .407 to go with 12 kills and .357 hitting from Morgan Bryand (SR/Wichita, Kan.), but Dakota Wesleyan was .316 as a team and had a match-high 17 kills from Ady Dwight, stopping Kansas Wesleyan in three sets (25-17, 25-16, 25-23) in the NAIA Volleyball Championship Opening Round at the Corn Palace.
The Coyotes etched their place in KWU Athletics history with one of the school’s most memorable seasons, a year that ends at 28-7, while Dakota Wesleyan improved to 23-7 and advances to the championship’s pool play round later this month in Sioux City, Iowa.
Rylee Serpan (FR/Spring Hill, Kan.) scored the first point of the championship, but Dakota Wesleyan raced out to an 8-4 lead that was later wiped away by the Coyotes, who used a 4-1 run to cut the lead to one, 9-8. DWU was able to rebuild a four-point lead, up 15-11 on a kill by Dwight. The lead did not last, as Bryand capped a 6-2 Coyote run with a kill to make it 17-15.
Dakota Wesleyan answered with a 6-0 run to go in front 23-15, and the Tigers managed to split the final four points to win the opener 25-17.
Kansas Wesleyan had a block from Hardacre and Maddy Beckett (SR/Halstead, Kan.) to go with an ace by Kelcey Hund (JR/Leavenworth, Kan.) to start the second up 3-0, but Dakota Wesleyan used another late scoring spurt to build a lead, up 19-12 before closing on a 3-0 run to win the second 25-16.
The Coyotes controlled much of the third set, up 13-12 before a four-point run and a kill by Hardacre to make it 17-13, but Dakota Wesleyan managed to punch its ticket late in the third set, earning five ties before taking a 23-22 lead, a run stopped momentarily by a Hardacre kill to tie the set at 23.
Hund finished with 17 digs to lead the Coyotes on defense, and Josie Deckinger (JR/Wichita, Kan.) distributed 27 assists for the Coyotes. Dakota Wesleyan setter Madeline Else ended the opening round with a double-double, 47 assists an 10 digs, and The Tigers were red hot in the first two sets, hitting .353 and .437.