It took a fifth and final match for the Briar Cliff Chargers (7-2) at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex to claim the championship of the Extended Stay Deluxe Volleyball Tournament over the UAA Seawolves (3-5). The four-team round-robin tournament began with Briar Cliff spoiling UAA’s home opener with a dominating 30-23, 30-26, 30-21 sweep.
The Chargers, an NAIA squad from Sioux City, Iowa dominated early, breezing past the host Seawolves in the first game 30-20.
UAA took a 28-26 lead into the final minutes of a decisive game two but fell short as the Chargers rallied the final four points to win 30-28.
With a commanding two-game advantage, the Chargers aimed to pull off another sweep in front of UAA’s home crowd.
With the bitter taste of game two’s loss still in its mouth, the Seawolves dug deep and found a rhythm in the third and fourth games.
Sophomore Heather Lyons provided the spark with seven kills as UAA cruised to a 30-22 victory in game three.
A five-kill performance by senior Chelsey Jones led the Seawolves in a vital 30-23 game four victory, setting up a fifth and final game.
Briar Cliff took advantage of some early UAA passing errors and rallied back to pull out the 15-11 victory.
Lyons paced the green and gold attack with a 16 kill and 12 dig double-double.
Lyons was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Jones, who led the tournament with a .420 attack percentage, and Tehane Kahalehau, who averaged ten assists per game.
Briar Cliff’s championship performance was led by the stellar play of the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, Kayla Bessmer, and her teammate Renee Beiermann.
Notre Dame de Namur posted two all-tournament players as well, with the final spots taken by Marissa Miller and Lauren Quach.
The Seawolves failed to recapture the Extended Stay Deluxe Invitational title for the third straight year, but their newfound team unity led to sweeps over the Notre Dame de Namur Argonauts (California) and La Grange Panthers (Georgia).
Plagued by the injuries of junior Paepaetele Poasa (shin splints), sophomore Brenda Cooper and Kahalehau’s slight ankle sprains in the La Grange match, UAA recieved great off-the-bench play from freshman setter Meghan Koizumi and sophomore outside hitter Jessica Morehouse.
The Seawolves will look to regain control of their home court as they continue GNAC play this week against Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.
Play begins at 7 p.m. in the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.