By Mike Deak
ST. PAUL, Minn. – A wild rally by Bethel University yielded the program its fifth volleyball national championship after a 3-2 win over Northwestern Saturday afternoon.
The 2020 NCCAA DI Women’s Volleyball National Championship saw Northwestern win games one and two 25-19, 25-21, but Bethel came back to edge out wins in game three, 27-25, and four, 25-23, then won a wild fifth set, 19-17, to erupt into a wild celebration.
Bethel saw a pair of freshmen come up huge in the championship. NorthWood graduates Maddy Payne and Caroline Mullet continued to play at a high level together, Payne smashing 20 kills and six blocks while Mullet had 25 assists and 12 digs.
Isabelle North also had 20 kills to go with 11 blocks, Madyson Beaver sent up 28 assists along with 13 digs and seven kills and Payton Hart added nine kills and seven digs for the Pilots, which finish its winter season 20-4. North was named the NCCAA National Tournament MVP while Beaver and Payne were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Pliots head coach Katie Weiss was named NCCAA Tournament Coach of the Year.
“Incredibly proud of this awesome team,” started Weiss. “Thankful to God for all the ways he has sustained us, encouraged us, an provided for us. I’m blessed to finish 2020 with a national title. Way to go Pilots!”