Three NCAA Div. III national titles
WHITEWATER, WIS.—The Central College volleyball team opened the season with six new starters and endured a bumpy start, dropping a pair of matches at the Univ. of Wis.-Whitewater Invitational Friday.
The Univ. of Wis.-Oshkosh swept the Dutch 25-19, 25-19, 25-17 before No. 17 Wis.-Whitewater tripped Central 25-15, 25-18, 25-14.
“We couldn’t get in system well enough to run our first-tempo offense,” coach Kent Clayberg said. “When you can’t control the first contact everything else seems to accommodate that and then when you do get a good first contact the other parts aren’t ready to run.
“But we made changes and our ball control was much better the second match,” Clayberg said. “However we still struggled to have consistent control at all three contacts, which made it tough to string points together.”
Central (0-2) had six kills and 11 digs from outside hitter Jessica Laflin (sophomore, Phoenix, Ariz., Horizon Honors HS) against Wis.-Oshkosh (1-0). Outside hitter Tess Reinig (senior, Manchester, West Delaware HS) and right-side hitter Elizabeth Ihnen (junior, Sheldon) had five kills apiece. Setter Jill Schildroth (sophomore, Reinbeck, Gladbrook-Reinbeck HS) had 25 assists and libero Emily Eberhardt (sophomore, Sperry, Mediapolis HS) had 16 digs.
Against Wis.-Whitewater (2-0), Reinig posted seven terminations while Laflin and middle hitter Ashley Pedersen (senior, Humboldt) both had five. Schildroth dished 21 assists and had eight digs. Eberhardt also dug eight balls. The Dutch were outhit .287 to .061.
“Nobody anticipated or is excited about a 0-2 start, but the things we did tonight are things we can get better at tomorrow,” Clayberg said.
Central has little time to recover, coming back Saturday at 10 a.m. against Augsburg (Minn.) before meeting Gustavus Adolphus (Minn.) at noon.