By Nikki Sherrill, Communications and Sports Information Intern
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – (Full Schedule | Bracket) Hastings (Neb.) won its first-ever national championship at the 2016 NAIA Volleyball National Championship, presented by F&M Bank and Absolute Screen Art, in front of a record-setting crowd. Inside the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa, the Broncos knocked off Dordt (Iowa) in five sets to be crowned the new national champion. This was the first five-set national championship since 2008.
“We knew we could win three sets, but Dordt did a lot right in the first two sets,” said Hastings’ head coach, Matt Buttermore. “We had to be aggressive and battle on; we just had to come out and play for each other.”
The Broncos found themselves in a 2-0 (25-23 and 25-15) hole going into the third set. Following a ten-minute break before the third set, Hastings got out to a quick start and stole the third set (25-16) to stay alive at 2-1 in the match.
“We needed that ten minute break. We had been in a couple of those situations before and we knew how to battle back. We just needed to make some big plays and that’s what we did,” said Buttermore.
The fourth set was yet another close one, with Hastings’ snatching the set 25-22 to tie up the match. The Broncos have only played two five-set matches this season, splitting the meetings. The fifth set in this match proved to be nothing for the Broncos as they captured a national championship after a quick 15-6 decisive set.
Dordt ends its season with a 28-8 record and advanced to its first national final in school history. The Defenders were led by All-Tournament Team members Jamie Gesnik, Brooke Granstra and Ema Altena. Granstra recorded the most kills in the tournament with 111, while leading her team in hitting percentage with .397.
Hastings was lead by non-other than the 2016 Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball National Championship Most Valuable Player, Logan Drueppel. The senior from Schuyler, Neb., earned her title after hitting .450 in the match, with nine kills and seven blocks.
“We knew we had to put up a fight. They're strong, and we are strong. We are family; that’s all I can say,” said Drueppel.
Drueppel is joined by Katie Placke and Sage Meyer who were named to the All-Tournament Team. Buttermore was named the Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball National Championship Coach of the Year after leading his Broncos to a 33-3 record to go along with his first national title as a coach.
“It’s so awesome this was an all-GPAC championship; it’s great for us. We have seen them before and knew they were a great team and it would be a tough match,” said Drueppel.
With being an all-GPAC final, both teams knew each other very well after meeting twice this season – both during the regular-season. Last season was also a same-conference championship as Columbia (Mo.) swept Missouri Baptist to take its fourth title.
Hastings also claimed the GPAC regular-season championship as well as the conference tournament title. The HC campus will be welcoming even more hardware to its trophy case, as the men’s soccer team defeated Rio Grande (Ohio) 1-0 in Delray Beach, Fla., to earn its second national title.
“It’s a great day to be a Bronco!” said Buttermore.
For more information on the NAIA Volleyball National Championship, click here.
2016 NAIA Volleyball National Championship All-Tournament Team
Peiyi Liu, Columbia (Mo.)
Makenzie Montano, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)
KC Heimann, Midland (Neb.)
Rachelle Chamberlain, Eastern Oregon
Wendy Romero, Park (Mo.)
Priscilla O’Dowd, Midland (Neb.)
Taylor Beckman, Westmont (Calif.)
Ema Altena, Dordt (Iowa)
Jamie Gesnik, Dordt (Iowa)
Katie Placke, Hastings (Neb.)
Sage Meyer, Hastings (Neb.)
Taylor Wells, Grand View (Iowa)
Amelia Grahn, Viterbo (Wis.)
Brooke Granstra, Dordt (Iowa)
National Tournament Libero of the Year: Daniela Duarte, Park (Mo.)
Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball National Championship Most Valuable Player: Logan Drueppel, Hastings (Neb.)
Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball National Championship Coach of the Year: Matt Buttermore, Hastings (Neb.)
NAIA Volleyball National Championship Team Champions of Character: Carroll (Mont.)