The Eagles Could Tie the A’s with Just One More Championship.

The Eagles Could Tie the A's with Just One More Championship.

The Eagles Could Tie the A’s with Just One More Championship. On Thursday night at UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse, the fourth-ranked University of Northwestern Eagles faced the second-ranked Juniata College Eagles in the semifinals of the 2022 NCAA Division III Women’s Volleyball Championship. After a valiant effort, UNW lost to Juniata 3-1 in their second Final Four trip in school history.

Northwestern took an early 7-2 lead in the first game. Seven unanswered points from Juniata gave them a 9-2 advantage. After a 2-point response by UNW, Juniata went on a 4-point run to take a 13-9 lead. After another 13-13 tie, Juniata went ahead 17-13 after scoring four straight points to Northwestern’s zero. After UNW tied the set at 15, Juniata won seven points in a row to take a 1-0 lead in the match.

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After falling behind 3-0 to start the second set, Northwestern went on a 7-0 run to defeat Juniata. Once UNW had built up a 16-12 advantage, Juniata went on a 4-point run to tie the set at 16-16. The two teams swapped points back and forth until Juniata’s ace put them ahead 20-19. After trading points again to 22-21, Northwestern won the set with a flurry of four straight punches to even the match at 1-1.

In the third set, Juniata went on an 11-2 run to pull ahead of UNW, 15-5. Despite Northwestern’s best efforts, Juniata won the set 25-11.

After leading 4-3 in the fourth set, UNW saw Juniata return with a five-point surge to take an 8-4 advantage. In response, UNW went on a 6–0 run to take a 10–8 lead. Soon after, Northwestern won four of the following six to extend their advantage to 14-10. In the end, Juniata returned from down 18-17 thanks to a 3-0 run. After a 19-19 deadlock, Juniata went on a 3-point run to retake the lead. UNW responded with three straight points to even the set at 22-22.

After taking the next two, Juniata was up 24-22 and at match point. With one more kill, than she had all season, Abby Glanzer (Brandon, S.D./Sioux Falls Christian) brought Northwestern within one point. Still, Juniata won the set 25-22, the match 3-1, and advanced to Saturday’s NCAA Championship Final.

Glanzer paced Northwestern with 14 kills. UNW was led by Marylyn Schroyer’s (Ft. Collins, CO/Ft. Collins) seven aces and twenty-one digs. Marley Aune (New Brighton, MN) of Avail Academy led the team with five total blocks. The UNW setters were led by Felicia Luther (Victoria, MN/Southwest Christian), who dished out 15 assists.

No. 4 With a 34-3 record and a 91.9 victory percentage in 2022, Northwestern established a new school record. By going 14-0 in conference play, the Eagles secured their 15th UMAC Regular Season Championship in the past 16 years and their 12th in a row. After that, UNW went on to win their fourth straight and tenth overall UMAC Tournament Championship in the last eleven years.

The Eagles set a new program and conference record with a perfect 48-0 record in sets played against UMAC opponents. The Eagles subsequently went on to win their second regional title in school history after Northwestern was chosen to host an NCAA Championship regional. Following in the footsteps of the 2016 NCAA Regional Championship squad (34-5), UNW not only made it to the Elite Eight but also won the NCAA Championship Quarterfinal and advanced to the Final Four.

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