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After taking down No. 1, Viterbo has just one thing left to do — win the whole thing

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa — It was 36-0 and the No. 1 ranked team in the NAIA.

It was supposed to be where a rebuilding Viterbo University volleyball season would end.

The V-Hawks had other ideas and went to one of those newcomers to pull off the upset.

Lydia Xu had 18 kills  and a .414 kill percentage  in carrying seventh-ranked Viterbo to the 3-1 (15-25, 25-20, 25-19, 25-19) win over top-ranked, and no longer undefeated, Grand View on Friday in the Elite Eight.

Aubrey Aspen lets loose a howl, after a V-Hawk point in the third set of Friday’s NAIA Elite 8 contest against Grand View. ABOVE: The Viterbo savors its 3-1 win over top-ranked., and previously undefeated, Grand View on Friday in the NAIA quarterfinals. PHOTOS: Nate Beier, GX3Media.

Grand View had swept the V-Hawks 25-16,25-20,25-19 back on Oct. 12.

The win pits Viterbo against No. 3-ranked Columbia College (41-4) at 11 a.m. today from the Tyson Center  Viterbo’s fourth trip to the Final Four in the past five seasons.

The one season Viterbo didn’t make it to this point, was two years ago. That season, the V-Hawks won their pool but somehow got seeded against the top-ranked team, despite being the No. 2-ranked team at the time.

Viterbo has never gotten to the NAIA championship.

The winner today will go on to play for the NAIA championship at 7 p.m. tonight against either No. 2 Park or No. 14 Midland.

In Friday’s quarterfinal, Lauryn Sobasky had 27 assists and nine digs, while teammate Chloe Jakscht added 17 assists, nine digs.

Aside from Xu, the V-Hawks did not hit well. The rest of the team had just 29 kills with a .12 kill percentage.

This has been a somewhat improbable run for the V-Hawks, after losing some of their all-time bests at hitter, setter and defense last season.

Amelia Grahn graduated the all-time leader in assists (5,177). Natalie Geidel finished her career second all-time in kills (2,174). And Baylee Gross graduated fourth all-time in digs (2,117).

On top of that, Viterbo was on the verge of being eliminated in pool play, before making a miraculous comeback to win its final match, forcing a one-set tiebreaker to move on  which it also won.

Earlier Friday, Viterbo made quick work for 10th-ranked Northwestern, 3-0 (25-13,25-17,25-21).

Viterbo celebrates its Sweet 16 victory over Northwestern, 3-0. PHOTO: Nate Beier, G3XMedia.

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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