MADISON, WI – Maranatha started off fast, slowed down in the middle and finished off the Concordia University Wisconsin Falcons at the end, in a decisive 15-2 fifth set for the 3-2 win at the Edgewood Triangular in Madison, WI.
Set one began with a 7-4 lead off kills from senior middle blockers Laci Peterson (Chillicothe, IL) and Lauren Schulz (Lake Mills, WI) and built into a 19-12 cushion on a service ace by junior setter Emily Thompson (Watertown, WI).
The Falcons cut the deficit to 21-18 on an attack error by Maranatha, but the Crusaders came right back with another kill by Schulz, an ace by junior setter Pam Borchardt (Watertown, WI) and finally an error to take set one, 25-19.
A set two victory did not come as easy with a back and forth battle that resulted in a slim 9-7 lead for Maranatha on a kill by freshman hitter Alison Renz (Lake Mills, WI).
Concordia tied the set at 12 apiece on an attack error by Maranatha, but the Crusaders pulled away with a 7-1 run and closed out the set with a kill by Renz for a comfortable 2-0 lead.
Despite a fast start and a 6-1 lead by Maranatha, the Falcons erased the deficit to force a 10-10 tie and overcame a late surge by Maranatha to post their first win of the match.
Every point was crucial in a fourth set that included 11 tie scores, the last being a 19-19 deadlock. Concordia notched two kills and took advantage of a service ace error by the Crusaders before closing out the set 25-21, forcing the fifth and final set.
The deciding set turned out to be nothing like the first four, with six kills by Peterson and several attack errors as the Crusaders cruised to 6-0 overall with a 15-2 win over the Concordia Wisconsin Falcons.
Peterson piled up 26 kills on a .365 attack percentage, adding seven digs and two blocks while Renz and Schulz finished with eight and seven kills respectively.
Sophomore libero Samantha Swiatek (Walled Lake, MI) recorded 23 digs while Thompson compiled 32 assists and four digs.
Maranatha faces Edgewood College, the team that defeated them in the NACC Tournament last year, at 8:00 p.m. with live stream coverage on the athletics website.