SIOUX CITY, Iowa — It took five sets, but the Viterbo University volleyball team suffered its first loss in the NAIA tournament.
The V-Hawks can’t lose any more.
In the final round of pool play, sixth-ranked Viterbo fell to No. 12 Central Methodist 3-2 (25-20, 19-25, 22-25, 25-16, 15-8) at the Tyson Event Center on Thursday.
The V-Hawks (33-6) finish second in pool play behind Marian (34-2) with a 2-1 record, advancing to Friday’s Sweet 16. The entire tournament will be completed this weekend.
Viterbo will play at 11:15 a.m. Friday against No. 12 Central Methodist (33-3). The winner plays at 6 p.m. in the Elite Eight against either No. 3 Indiana Wesleyan (37-2) or 13th-ranked Grand View (30-10).
Central Methodist won its pool 3-0, but needed five sets to beat 23rd-ranked Bellevue (28-10) — a team the V-Hawks lost to 3-2 back on Oct. 4 and beat 3-1 on Nov. 1 — and No. 5 Southern Oregon (31-4).
Another comparable, Central Methodist capped off its conference tournament just before the NAIAs, beating No. 11 Grand View, 3-2. Viterbo lost to Grand View 3-2 back on Oct. 11.