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The Lakeland College women's volleyball team will open the Northern Athletics Conference Tournament with a matchup against Maranatha Baptist Bible College in a quarterfinal Tuesday night in Watertown at 7 p.m.
The Muskies received the fifth seed in the conference tournament and will face the fourth-seeded Crusaders. The tournament opens with four quarterfinal matches Tuesday night at campus sites and continues with semifinals on Thursday and the final on Saturday.
Lakeland (17-9 overall, 7-5 NAC) won the fifth seed outright by finishing the regular season with three straight conference wins. Maranatha Baptist finished fourth in the conference with a 9-3 league mark (18-3 overall) and was just two matches behind co-champions Edgewood College and Benedictine (Ill.) University.
The Muskies are facing a formidable opponent, but one that they had success against earlier this season. Lakeland played at Maranatha on Oct. 2 and won in four sets, 25-17, 18-25, 25-21, 30-28, making the Muskies one of the three NAC teams to hand the Crusaders a loss.
Taylor Daus (Sr.-Green Bay, Wis.) led Lakeland with 19 kills in that match, and Katie Freitag (Jr.-Kiel, Wis.) and Anna Faust (Jr.-Cross Plains, Wis.) both added 11 kills each. The Muskies also withstood Maranatha Baptist's outstanding tandem of Torey DeLozier and Laci Peterson, who combined for 42 kills, including 25 by Peterson, who is the NAC's all-time leader in kills and averages 6.04 kills per set, tops by a huge margin in NCAA Division III.
Live video of the match will be available from Maranatha at http://mbbc.nmtvsports.com/. The winner of the match will face the winner of the quarterfinal between top seeded Edgewood and No. 8 seed Concordia University Wisconsin. The other quarterfinal matches Tuesday included second-seeded Benedictine hosting No. 7 seed Wisconsin Lutheran College and sixth seed Marian University traveling to face third seed Dominican (Ill.) University.
All NAC tournament matches will be played at the home site of the higher seeded team. The winners of Thursday's semifinals will meet Saturday for the tournament championship, with the tourney winner receiving the NAC's automatic berth to the NCAA Division III national tournament.