JOLIET, Ill. – The Purdue University Northwest volleyball team dropped a 5-set battle to St. Francis (Ill.), in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference postseason tournament.
The No. 2 Fighting Saints defeated the No. 7 Pride (25-22, 15-25, 16-25, 25-23, 6-15) at the Sullivan Center Tuesday night.
“I am so thankful for this group of young women and so proud of the way that they represented PNW volleyball in its first year,” head coach Julie Wiejak said.
“They were incredibly special and they will forever hold a place in my heart for all of their hard work and dedication.”
Junior Gabrielle Martin (DeMotte, Ind./Kankakee Valley) led the offensive attack for the Pride with 19 kills and a .288 attack percentage with a quartet of service aces on the night.
Casey Neulieb (Michigan City, Ind./Michigan City) led PNW with 25 digs while Brooke Ahrens (Covington, Ind./Covington) notched 37 assists to headline the leaders for the Black and Gold.
The Pride took an early lead in Set 1, after a kill from Martin gave PNW a 14-8 lead.
USF would cut their deficit to one, after a Brooke Hartnell kill put the Fighting Saints within one, 19-18.
PNW would answer right back, taking a 23-20 advantage, before capitalizing on some USF miscues and pick up the 25-22 win.
USF would pick up the next two sets, but the Pride continued to fight, battling the entire fourth set and putting pressure on the Fighting Saints.
After USF took a 23-21 advantage late in Set 4, PNW would rattle off four consecutive points to win the set, and send the match to a fifth set.
PNW would continue to battle in the fifth set, but the Fighting Saints would hold on and take the 5-set victory over the Black and Gold.
In the first year as a program for PNW, the Pride recorded 18 wins with a CCAC Postseason tournament appearance, and multiple Player of the Week honors, to headline a successful season for the Black and Gold.