SIOUX CITY, Iowa (December 2, 2009) – Lubbock Christian University had an opportunity to jump out to a 2-0 match lead with an 18-12 lead in the second set, but No.7 Columbia College (Mo.) rallied to win the set 25-23 and went on to claim the following two sets to defeat the No.20 Lady Chaps 3-1 (28-30, 25-23, 25-17, 25-22) Wednesday afternoon in pool play of the 30th Annual NAIA Volleyball National Championship at Gateway Arena inside Tyson Events Center. The loss eliminates the Lady Chaps from advancing into the single-elimination tournament at the conclusion of pool play.
The opening set was a thriller with the score tied on 15 occasions and ten lead changes. The two teams combined for five set-point serves in the set with Columbia unable to clinch the set on two set-point serves, while the Lady Chaps had to rely on an attack error by Columbia's Cate Eckhardt on their third set-point serve to claim the set 30-28. Columbia had a promising start to the second set with a 5-1 lead, but LCU's Melissa Green produced a pair of kills to highlight an 8-1 LCU run for a 9-6 LCU lead. LCU went on to build the lead to 18-12 before Columbia stormed back with an 8-2 run for a 21-20 lead. LCU moved within a point (24-23) but Maria Omandi put the set away with a set-clinching kill. Columbia took the momentum into the third set and pulled away from a 9-8 lead with a 6-1 run, which included a trio of kills from Monica Santos. The Cougars claimed the third set 25-17. Columbia kept up their pace in the final set, using another 6-1 rally to pull away from a 10-9 lead. LCU did make things interesting late in the match, as they trailed 23-14. The Lady Chaps went on an 8-1 run sparked by a pair of aces from Tori Velasquez, cutting the deficit to 24-22 before Santos ended the match with a kill for Columbia.
Columbia had four players with over ten kills and two players finished with double-doubles. Santos led the way with 18 kills and she was joined in double figures by Omondi (15), Eckhardt (10) and Nicole Murphy (10). Paula Ferreira of Columbia had 55 assists and 18 digs for a double-double and Santos included 12 digs with her 18 kills to join the list. The Cougars produced ten aces and Murphy produced five of them. Bailey Jones led LCU with 12 kills and Kelsey Odell finished with 11. The Lady Chaps did produce 12 team blocks, with Elissa Loynes combining for seven (five combo blocks) and Kaydee Starkey and Jordan Goings each getting four apiece.
LCU (27-7) is now 0-2 in pool play and they are unable to advance into single-elimination play since Columbia (1-1) plays Georgetown College (1-1) Thursday and the winner will have two wins and will join Lee University (2-0) in single-elimination bracket play. LCU wraps up their season Thursday at 1 p.m. against Lee. The Lady Chaps are now 12-18 all-time in national championship play and 5-4 under head coach Jennifer Lawrence.
Thursday's match against Lee University (Tenn.) can be viewed online via www.lcuchaps.com and online audio and live scoring links will also be available.