MARSHALL, MINN. – Concordia (St. Paul) defeated Missouri Western 25-22, 25-23, 18-25, 25-20 on Friday night in the NCAA Division II Central Region semifinals.
Brooklyn Lewis led the Golden Bears (30-3), who trailed by at least four points in each set, with 23 kills and hit 327. Mariya Sampson and Hope Schiller added 14 and 13 kills, respectively.
Concordia is the second seed in the region and ranked third nationally. The Golden Bears are also the defending national champions and have won the title eight times in the past 10 years.
Stephanie Doak had 20 kills for Missouri Western (25-11) while Kayla Ruff had 22 digs.
The Golden Bears outhit the Griffons, but just barely, .263 to .248 And the fourth set was tied at 17-all before Concordia scored three points in a row.
Concordia’s win guaranteed an all-NSIC region final. They will face Minnesota Duluth at 3 p.m. Saturday for a chance to advance to the Elite Eight in Pensacola, Fla., next week. The Golden Bears have gone 10-4 in their 14 previous region finals (or round of 16 matches).
Concordia improved its record to 63-6 all-time in the NCAA tournament, including eight wins in a row going back to last season.
That winning streak is the second longest in tournament play, trailing only the Golden Bears’ 43-match winning streak from 2007-14.
Minnesota Duluth 3, Southwest Minnesota State 0: The Bulldogs (26-6) upset the top-seeded Mustangs (29-4) on their home court — after beating them in Duluth 3-2 on Nov. 3.
This match wasn’t as close, the Bulldogs won 25-23, 25-15, 25-23. Sarah Kelley had 13 kills and Makenzie Morgen 12 for UMD (26-6).
Kelly hit .600 and also had 10 digs.
Taylor Reiss and Kaylee Burmeister had 10 kills apiece for Southwest Minnesota State.
A kill by Burmeister got the Mustangs within 24-23 in the third set, but they lost the match on a service error.
The Mustangs, ranked No. 3 nationally, had won seven matches in a row since that loss to Minnesota Duluth.
UMD hit .307 in this match to Southwest Minnesota State’s .179 and had more kills, 48 to 36.