Three NCAA Div. III national titles
PELLA—Seniors took the stage for the Central College volleyball team Tuesday, helping the Dutch wrap up the home-season schedule with a swift 25-15, 25-7, 25-9 sweep of Buena Vista Univ.
The Dutch needed just 58 minutes to improve to 21-11 overall and 3-4 in the league, strengthening their hold on the last berth in the six-team Iowa Conference tournament. Central can clinch a spot with a victory in Thursday’s regular-season finale at the Univ. of Dubuque.
Tuesday’s match marked the final P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium appearance in a Dutch uniform for five Dutch seniors: middle hitter Lindsay Jennings (Atkins, Benton HS), middle hitter Sara Mouw (Greene, North Butler HS), setter Dena Christian (Story City, Roland-Story HS), outside hitter Michelle Ripperger (Urbandale) and defensive specialist Jenna Gillette (Caledonia, Ill., Belvidere HS). All five were in Tuesday’s starting lineup.
“The underclassmen really wanted to honor them tonight,” coach Kent Clayberg said. “To be able to put those five seniors on the floor and see them execute as well as they did was great. It was special to start and finish the match with all five on the floor.”
Ripperger led a balanced Dutch attack with seven kills while sophomore outside hitter Caitlin Kouba (Dubuque, Wahlert HS) had six kills and right-side hitter Ashley Ellingson (junior, West Des Moines, Valley HS) and Jennings each had five. Setter Maggie Snyder (sophomore, Alexandria, Minn., Jefferson HS) had 18 assists while Christian had 13. Mouw had five blocks, including two solos.
“We kept the game plan simple and came out swinging,” Clayberg said.
“We’ll miss these seniors,” he said. “In a year that hasn’t always gone the way we wanted, it was nice to have a night like this.”