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.
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).