Following the Thunder’s season high of four straight wins the previous week, the Thunder found themselves in a low, losing all three games leading up to the CCIW tournament. The Thunder began their week with two matches on Saturday in Mount Vernon, Iowa.
The Thunder began their day facing off against Wartburg College, losing the game in straight sets. Despite losing all three sets, the Thunder put up a strong fight against Wartburg College, forcing the first set into extra points before Wartburg could gain the required two point lead to end the set at 26-24. In the second set, the Thunder fell four points behind Wartburg to lose the set 25-21, while the final set had another extremely close matchup, with the Thunder once again pushing the score to 24-26 before losing their final set. The Thunder walked away with a disappointing loss, but showed their ability to hold their own against Wartburg, who came into the game with a 23-10 season record.
In their second game on Saturday, the Thunder faced off against Cornell College, who walked into the match with a 22-6 win-loss record this season. The Thunder lost their first set against Cornell 25-14, with Cornell pulling away with an eight-point streak to finish the set. In the second set, sophomore outside hitter Shelby Knowles stood out with seven kills to help the Thunder secure their 23-25 victory. In the next set, the Thunder made a strong effort, tying up the game five times before Cornell took their lead for the final time with a four-point streak, bringing them up 9-6. The Thunder continued to lose ground throughout the set, with it ending with a 25-17 loss for the Thunder. In the final set, the Thunder attempted to rally with a five-point streak bringing them to a 4-7 lead. Cornell caught up at 8-8, at which point they scored four points to gain the lead that they would carry until their 25-18 victory.
On Tuesday, the Thunder faced off against CCIW opponent Carthage College, losing all three sets while Carthage maintained their perfect CCIW season. They proved once again that, despite going up against such a successful team, the Thunder could hold their own, losing the first two sets by four points each. In the third set, the Thunder lost some ground, finishing off the match with a 25-18 loss. Knowles stood out once again in the match against Carthage, placing 16 of the Thunder’s 33 kills, while freshman setter Alley Lindner led the team in assists, tallying 15 throughout the match.
The Thunder has secured a spot in the CCIW tournament, which will begin today and go into Saturday.