SIOUX CITY, Iowa — The Ottawa University women’s volleyball team challenged three ranked squads this week in the NAIA National Tournament.
The Lady Braves lost all three matches to No. 6 Viterbo, No. 11 Marion and No. 21 Embry-Riddle. Ottawa took Embry-Riddle to five sets Thursday in the final pool match. Ottawa lost 25-14, 25-20, 23-25, 25-27, 15-9. Ottawa earlier this season bested Embry-Riddle.
Embry-Riddle led 8-6 in the fifth set and scored seven of the next 10 points to close out Ottawa. The Lady Braves finished with 63 kills, a .189 attacking percentage, 56 assists, 101 digs, and 11 team blocks.
Ayona Tharps lead Ottawa with 21 kills and five blocks. Ryleigh Burdick had 18 kills with a .342 attacking percentage. Allison Bauer had 29 assists and 19 digs. Autumn Freeman had 21 digs and Caitlyn Cox tallied five blocks.
On Wednesday, Ottawa was swept by Marian (25-20, 26-24, 25-18). Ottawa was within 18-17 in the first set. Ottawa had the second set tied at 24-24 and was within 11-10 in the third set.
Tharps paced Ottawa with a .366 attacking percentage and 17 kills. Bauer had 15 assists.
Ottawa opened pool play Tuesday, falling to Viterbo (25-16, 27-25, 25-16). Ottawa took Viterbo to the wire in the second set and led 25-24.
Tharps finished with eight kills. Bauer had 15 assists.
Tharps, the KCAC player of the year, was selected to the AVCA First Team All-West Central Team. Through 39 matches, Tharps had 509 kills, a .236 attacking percentage, three assists, 136 digs, and 112 blocks. She is ranked 11th in the NAIA in total kills with 509.
Ottawa, which qualified for nationals in four of the past five seasons, finished at 24-17.