Mounties Fend Off Cougars, Advance to Second-Consecutive NAIA Championship Semifinal Appearance

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The Mountaineers went to battle against the Cougars of Columbia College with a chance to advance to the NAIA Championship Semifinals for the second time in program history on the line. Saturday night’s match got off to a strong start in EOU’s favor, but Columbia didn’t go down without a fight forcing a fifth set before the Mounties took care of business winning the match 25-22, 25-20, 22-25, 23-25, 15-12.
Sophomore outside hitter, Keira Vaughn carried the load for the Mounties Saturday night notching 27 kills and boasting a .281 hitting percentage. Those numbers mark a season high for the Mounties and career high for Vaughn who broke her own season high she set earlier this season at 19. Sade Williams also played a crucial role adding to the offensive charge with an impressive 20 kills while hitting .271.
Defensively the Mounties relied on massive performances from junior libero Hailey Arritola and sophomore middle hitter Kiauna Mack to stifle the Cougar attack. Arritola was all over the court putting up her third best career mark in digs with 30 on the evening. Eastern’s defensive specialist may have set a new career high if it wasn’t for an excellent game at the net by Mack who posted a whopping 12 blocks (career high). Mack’s 12 blocks match teammate Mylie Mills for most blocks in a match this season.
On the other side, Columbia (32-7) fought valiantly, with Agatha Emanuelle and Ellie Rockers each contributing 13 kills. Setter Luisa Ferreira orchestrated the offense with 57 assists, but Eastern Oregon’s defense held firm in the long run as the Mounties earned the victory.
The win pushes Eastern to a total record of 34-1 on the season, extending their win streak to 23 matches. For the second time in program history and the second consecutive year, the Mounties will play in the NAIA Championship Semifinal match at the Tyson Events Center. A tough foe in the undefeated Indiana Wesleyan University Wildcats awaits the Mounties. EOU, the No. 3 seed, and IWU, the No. 2 seed, will battle it out for a spot in the 2023 National Championship. First serve is set for 8 p.m. CST.

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