Photo courtesy of Katherine Frazier / Bryan College
DAYTON, Tenn. -- The Indiana Wesleyan University volleyball program is headed to Sioux City, Iowa for the third consecutive season after defeating Bryan (Tenn.) 3-0 today in the NAIA National Championship Opening Round in Dayton, Tennessee.
Indiana Wesleyan is one of 12 teams to win today in opening round matches across the country. Those 12 teams will join the top 12 teams that automatically advanced to Sioux City. The 24 teams at the final site will be put into four team pools and will play at least three matches in Iowa.
The Wildcats had a well-rounded match this afternoon and won by scores of 25-22, 25-22, 25-21. IWU improves to 29-10 on the season and Bryan’s season comes to a close at 33-4.
“Bryan is an excellent team,” said Indiana Wesleyan head coach Candace Moats. “They have a very fast offense and it was just a will to win the game and not end the season. I couldn’t be more proud of this team.”
Three Wildcats had double digit kills with Rae Brandes leading all players with 14 kills. Kristine Egebrecht and Kristin Predajna each totaled 13 kills with .400 or better hitting percentages while Remy Bucknor had six kills.
A pair of Indiana Wesleyan players had double-doubles. Rae Brandes finished with 10 digs to go along with her 14 kills while setter Katey Holler earned 49 assists and 13 digs.
Rebecca Brandes led all players with 19 digs while Predajna had one solo block. Holler led all players with two service aces while Rae Brandes and Lindsay Rogan each contributed one.
“I think of all the matches that we played this year this was by far the most electric crowd that we had to play in,” said Moats about the jam packed gym at Bryan. “The poise and character that it took to stay steady, even when they got a little bit of a lead on us, it took determination and this is the most determination I’ve seen from this team this season.”
The Wildcats have been in four NAIA National Championships and three straight. 2013 marks the third straight trip for the team to the final site in Sioux City. The Wildcats improve their national championship record to 4-5 overall in four appearances.
Indiana Wesleyan now waits to learn its pool assignment for the NAIA National Championship in Sioux City. The championship will run December 3-7 at Gateway Arena.