Nov. 12, 2010

* Courtesy of Saint Olaf Athletics

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The 11th-ranked St. Olaf volleyball team outlasted Northwestern College in five sets -- 28-26, 25-23, 25-27, 23-25, 15-12 -- in the first round of the NCAA Division III championship on Friday.

St. Olaf (30-4) came back from a 10-8 disadvantage in the decisive fifth set to get the win.

Kim Smisek had 25 kills and 18 digs and Melissa Burch 16 kills to lead the Oles. Kristin Boyum added a team-best 22 digs and setter Kelly Prunty had 53 assists in the victory, the team's 13th in a row.

Northwestern (26-14) was paced by Greta King's 18 kills and 14 from Chelsea Koth.

Northwestern rallied from deficits of 16-12 and 23-22 deficits in the fourth set to force the fifth.

The 30-win season is the seventh in school history and first since 1996.

St. Olaf will meet Whitworth University, which defeated Concordia College-Moorhead in straight sets, in the second round tomorrow at 3:30 p.m.