Northwest University volleyball splits in season openers | College sports

Northwest University is located in Kirkland. - Contributed Art
Northwest University is located in Kirkland.
— image credit: Contributed Art

Kirkland's Northwest University (NU) won its first match and lost the second as it opened its season at the Sports Travel Northwest Invitational with a split at the HUB in Spokane on Thursday.

The Eagles (1-1) took five sets to get by Montana Western 3-2 (19-25, 25-20, 25-23, 22-25, 18-16) in their first match and then dropped a 3-1 (23-25, 18-25, 25-22, 18-25) decision to the University of Great Falls during their second match of the day.

UGF made a 5-0 run late in the first set as they trailed 20-23 to pull out the set 25-23 after a kill by Alyssa McEwan and four straight attack errors by NU.

The second set was tied at 4-4, but UGF took the lead after two straight errors by NU and a Dani Norling kill. The Argonauts never trailed the remainder of the set, winning 22-18.

NU trailed 16-11 in the third set, but rallied to take a 17-16 lead after a UGF miscue. The Argos would battle back to tie the set three times, but with the score knotted at 19-all, NU would take advantage of two more UGF errors to take the lead for good, 21-19, and Mattie Jo Johnson would end the set with her kill.

Great Falls would lead from start to finish in the final set, but NU would tie it at 12-12. GFU would then score three straight to re-take the lead and Madison Wilhelm would end the set and the match with her kill.

Amanda Waterman led NU with nine kills. Mattie Jo Johnson had six kills and a .385 hitting percentage along with 5 blocks. Brooke Riddle and Christina Gleb led the Eagles with 17 and 14 assists respectively and Leia Roy had a match high 21 digs.

Great Falls was led by Tiffany Marks’ 14 kills followed by Madison Wilheim’s 11 kills. Marks had a .425 hitting percentage and Dani Norling had a match high 41 assists for the Argos. Jacey Habets had 16 digs and teammate Kelsee Montanga added 15 digs.

“We still have a long way to go,” said NU head coach Steven Bain, “but it was a good first day for a young team. The things we learned today will help us down the road.”

The Eagles continue play in the tournament today when they face Montana State Northern at noon and Montana Western at 4 p.m. at the HUB.

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