Three NCAA Div. III national titles
DUBUQUE—Central College rallied from two sets down to defeat Gustavus Adolphus (Minn.) and gain a split in its first-day action at the IIAC-MIAC Border Battle Friday at Loras College.
Central (13-5) overcame Gustavus 16-25, 21-25, 25-22, 25-17, 15-13 but was swept in the evening match by No. 19-ranked College of St. Benedict (Minn.) 25-20, 25-19, 25-22.
Middle hitter Lindsay Jennings (senior, Atkins, Benton HS) led Central’s comeback against Gustavus Adolphus (8-8) with 13 kills and eight blocks while outside hitter Michelle Ripperger (senior, Urbandale) had 12. Setter Maggie Snyder (sophomore, Alexandria, Minn., Rosemount HS) had 43 assists and 26 digs. Right-side hitter Ashley Ellingson (junior, West Des Moines, Valley HS) had nine blocks but was sidelined by an injury. Coach Kent Clayberg said her return Saturday is unlikely.
“Katie Huff (junior, Loveland, Colo., Thompson Valley HS) stepped in and did a real nice job in her place,” Clayberg said. “She brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm.”
Against St. Benedict (15-4), outside hitter Amy Golly (sophomore, Ankeny) and middle hitter Haley Brillhart (sophomore, Pella) each had six kills while Jennings had five. Jennings and Brillhart had four blocks while Snyder had three blocks, 24 assists and 10 digs.
“Everyone on the team had times when they looked very sharp,” Clayberg said. “But we had too many mental letdowns. We’d give up four or five points in a row and it seemed like we were fighting from behind the whole set.”
The climb back is even steeper Saturday. Central tackles No. 6 St. Thomas (Minn.) at 9 a.m. and No. 17 Concordia-Moorhead (Minn.) at 1 p.m.