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Grahn leads Viterbo to Sweet 16



SIOUX CITY, Iowa — After three consecutive sweeps, the Viterbo University volleyball team is headed to the Sweet 16.

The No. 2-ranked V-Hawks had no problem with 15th-ranked Eastern Oregon thanks in part to setter Amelia Grahn. In the final round of pool play Thursday, the V-Hawks took out Eastern Oregon 3-0 (25-20,25-18,25-18).

Grahn, the school’s all-time leader in assists, had 30 in the win but, perhaps even more impressive, the senior added 20 digs.

“That’s unbelievable,” said Viterbo coach Ryan DeLong, whose team now has 12 consecutive sweeps.. “She was a defensive machine out there.”

Ironically enough, the last team Viterbo didn’t sweep was Jamestown. And, at 1 p.m. Friday, the V-Hawks (37-1) open the single-elimination portion of the NAIA tournament against … 19th-ranked Jamestown (23-9).

In conference play, Viterbo beat Jamestown 3-0 on Sept. 22 followed by a 3-2 win on Oct. 21 — the last time the V-Hawks didn’t get a sweep.

“We feel good about this matchup but they’re a good team, a solid team and they’re going to be a tough match for us,” DeLong said.

Jamestown went 2-1 in pool play. That one loss for Jamestown came against No. 1-ranked Lindsey Wilson, 3-0 (25-14, 25-17, 25-13).

In the sweep Thursday at the Tyson Center, freshman Maya Roberts came up big for the V-Hawks with 13 kills, while the school’s No. 2 all-time leader in kills, Natalie Geidel, added 11.

“A big game in a big situation from a freshman, that was exciting for us to see,” DeLong said of Roberts’ performance. “We need different people to step at different times. Natalie is going to get her kills and then, it just depends on who’s hot that night. Roberts had a huge game.”

Not to be outdone by those two, Grahn also got herself into the action.

“Like the quarterback, she’s leading the offense,” DeLong said of her 30 assists, “but she had six kills to go along with that.

“You expect that, but at the same time, that’s pretty incredible. We wish she would be even more selfish but she likes to dish the ball more than attack.”

Libero Baylee Gross added 16 digs for the V-Hawks, who will play in the Elite 8 at 8:15 p.m. Friday if they beat Jamestown.

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse

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