La Crosse, Wis. - Every coach fears a let down when you are the #1 seed going into the conference tournament. For Viterbo Volleyball Head Coach, Ryan DeLong, that fear was taken away by his team as the V-Hawks defeated the Mustangs of Mount Mercy University 3-0. The win puts Viterbo in the Midwest Collegiate Conference semifinals for the second straight season.
The Lady V-Hawks came out firing in the first set as they jumped out to a 7-2 lead. MMU would settle down then after a timeout and cut their deficit to 7-6. The V-Hawks would then outscore the Mustangs 13-7 to take a 20-13 lead and would not look back as they won the first set 25-16. A fast start again in the second set, helped Viterbo gain early control as they would never trail in the set. After VU took a 20-17 lead, MMU closed within 23-22 before the V-Hawks scored the final two points to win the second set 25-22.
The third and final set was much the same for the V-Hawks as they took early control as they built an 10-5 lead. The Mustangs would battle back and closed to within 14-11 but that would be as close as they would get in the third set. Viterbo scored seven straight points to take a 21-11 lead. Mount Mercy would not go away as they chipped at their deficit but the V-Hawks closed the match to win 25-20.
An off night for some of Viterbo's top hitters did not seem to bother the V-Hawks. Viterbo's offense was led by Jenna Lau (Sr. - Eau Claire, Wis.) with 13 kills while Hannah Ripp (So. - Merrilan, Wis.) added 10 kills. Senior Amanda Bernett (Sparta, Wis.) finished the match with 24 assists while Jordan Blaken (So. - Melrose, Wis.) continued to lead the V-Hawk defense with 17 digs. Brittney Thomas led the Mustangs with 13 kills.
The win extends Viterbo's winning streak to 12 matches as they are now 38-4 overall. Mount Mercy's season comes to an end as they finish 15-18 on the year. Viterbo will now host #5 William Penn University on Wednesday night at 7:00 pm. The Statesmen advanced to the MCC semifinals by defeating #4 Clarke University 3-1. Viterbo and William Penn played each other twice during the regular season with the V-Hawks winning 3-0 and 3-1.