Nighthawks Advance After Another Five-Set Battle With CWU
Northwest Nazarene hit .207 as it won its second match ever in NCAA postseason play. Photo by Connor Schuh.
Northwest Nazarene hit .207 as it won its second match ever in NCAA postseason play. Photo by Connor Schuh.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – For the third time this season, Northwest Nazarene and Central Washington entertained with a five-set battle. For the second time, it was the Nighthawks taking the victory with advancement on the line.

The No. 3 seeded Nighthawks won six of the final seven points in the fifth to win their second all-time NCAA postseason match, defeating the No. 6 Wildcats, 25-23, 25-27, 25-18, 23-23, 15-8, in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II West Regional at Van Dyne Gym.

With the victory, Northwest Nazarene (25-4) advances to Friday’s semifinals where the Nighthawks will face the winner of the second quarterfinal match of the afternoon between No. 2 Western Washington and No. 7 Alaska Anchorage.

Senior middle blocker Madi Farrell led the Nighthawks with 20 kills and seven blocks while senior outside hitter Kendra Bodine had a double-double of 17 kills and 14 digs. Junior outside hitter Cami Heninger finished with 15 kills while senior setter Hailey Cook had a double-double of 31 assists and 11 digs.

Junior outside hitter Shelby Mauritson led Central Washington (19-10) with a double-double of 15 kills and 16 digs to go along with four blocks. Freshman outside hitter Makala Swart finished with 11 kills and 13 digs while junior outside hitter Madison Weg added 10 kills.

Northwest Nazarene built a 9-3 lead early in the first set on a block by Natalie Knauf and Heninger, but the Wildcats came back to bring the frame within one, 19-18, on Maruitson’s kill. Central proceeded to tie it at 23-23 on Weg’s kill before a Farrell kill and an attack error secured the first set victory over the Nighthawks.

Central Washington pulled out to a 14-10 second set lead on a block by Bridgette Webb and Sabrina Wheelhouse, but the Nighthawks tied the frame at 15-15 and went ahead 19-18 on a kill from Bodine. Northwest Nazarene was up 24-20 before the Wildcats rallied to tie it at 24-24 on Swart’s kill. The two teams traded points before a block and a Mauritson kill evened things up with the 27-25 victory.

The Nighthawks trailed 10-8 in the third set before scoring six straight points, two off service aces and two on attack errors. Northwest Nazarene made it a six-point advantage, 19-13, on Bodine’s kill and closed the set by winning six of the final seven rallies for the 25-18 win.

Neither team led by more than four points in a tight fourth set. Central Washington took a 23-20 lead on Kyla Morgan’s service ace, but saw the Wildcats pull to within 24-23 before Weg closed out the final rally with the kill to force the deciding fifth set.

The Nighthawks pulled out to a 5-1 lead in the fifth thanks to four Farrell kills before the Wildcats closed to within 7-5 on a block by Wheelhouse and Mauritson. Central Washington came no closer as Northwest Nazarene won seven of the final eight points to advance.