Matt Thomas, Sports Information Director
ALVA – Four players posted double-digit kills and sixth-seeded Southeastern forced five sets but was unable to pull off the first round upset, falling at No. 3 seed Northwestern Oklahoma State 3-2 in the first round of the Great American Conference Tournament.
The loss brings the 2021 spring season to a close with the Savage Storm posting a 2-9 record.
Aleksandra Rodic led all attackers with 21 kills on the night, hitting .254 for the match.
Jocelyn Grewing followed with 13 kills, while Caroline Griffith turned in 12, and Malaysia Burns collected 11.
SE held a 69-to-54 advantage in kills for the match and out-hit NWOSU .196-to-.160.
Ruthie Forson dished out 52 assists in the match and flirted with a triple-double after chipping in eight kills and picking up 13 digs on defense. She also turned in four blocks and a service ace.
Defensively, Grace Shehadeh picked up a career-high 37 digs to lead the Storm to 110 as a team on the night.
She was joined in double-figures by Rodic who rounded out a double-double with 19, just missing a 20-20 night, while McKenzie Turkoly posted 18, followed by Forson’s 13 and 11 from Micah Stiggers.
Griffith would lead the defense at the net with five blocks, while Forson was next up with four.
Errors proved costly for the Storm in the opening set, committing 10 over the entire set.
That allowed the Rangers to jump out to an early lead, going up by as many as 20-9.
SE would close the gap slightly, including fighting off two set points before NWOSU would ultimately take the opening set 25-16.
The Storm carried that late set momentum into set two, jumping ahead out of the gate and out to a 6-3 lead.
The Rangers rallied and would take an 11-9 lead, but Southeastern would take nine of the next 10 points to go ahead 18-12.
NWOSU would get as close as four points twice over the last third of the set, but a Rodic kill would complete the 25-20 win and even the match at 1-1.
The Storm took the first five points of the third set, with four of those points coming on kills by four different attackers.
SE would maintain a lead, but a Ranger rally would close the gap to 11-10, and ultimately the teams would play to ties at 14, 16, 17, 19 and 20.
NWOSU would pick up three-straight to break that tie, and SE would again rally to knot the set at 23-23 on a Rodic kill.
The teams played back to 24-24, but the Rangers would take the final two points for a 26-24 win to take a 2-1 lead.
Southeastern slowly crept out to a lead in the fourth set, going up five before three-straight NWOSU points would close the gap to 15-13.
SE would respond in a huge way, with a Griffith block kicking of a 10-1 run to finish the match and a Forson kill to end the set would give the Storm a 25-14 win and knot the match at 2-2.
The teams traded points out of the gate in the fifth set, but the Storm would break a 3-3 tie with a Grewing kill and push out to a 6-3 lead.
That lead grew to a 10-4 advantage, but the Rangers would rally to close the gap to 13-10 before a NWOSU service error would give the Storm match point at 14-10.
Unfortunately, Northwestern would fight off match point and score six-straight.