Three NCAA Div. III national titles
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS—Central College dropped a pair of volleyball matches Friday at the Trinity University (Texas) Fall Classic.
Bethel University (Minn.) outlasted the Dutch 29-27, 25-22, 25-22 before Austin College (Texas) swept Central 25-17, 25-18, 25-19.
Bethel (16-8), which also defeated the Dutch in early September, ruled the net with six team blocks and barely outhit Central .293 to .263 for the match.
“It was a great, fast-paced match,” coach Kent Clayberg said. “Bethel did a couple things better at critical points in the match and we just came up short. But that’s the best we’ve played in three weeks.”
Right-side hitter Liz Ihnen (junior, Sheldon) led the Dutch with 11 kills and committed no errors for a scorching .688 attack percentage.
“Liz was on fire,” Clayberg said.
Outside hitter Sara Snead (sophomore, Altoona, Southeast Polk HS) and middle hitter Ashley Pedersen (senior, Humboldt) each had 10 kills. Snead added 12 digs. Setter Claire Stewart (sophomore, Colorado Springs, Colo., Classical Academy) tallied 27 assists while setter Jill Schildroth (sophomore, Reinbeck, Gladbrook-Reinbeck HS) had 19. Libero Tori Zempel (freshman, La Port City, Union Community HS) had 17 digs.
“The rhythm of our offense was so smooth in the first match,” Clayberg said. “We could pretty much do whatever we wanted.”
Against Austin (15-9), Snead led the attack with seven kills with outside hitter Tess Reinig (senior, Manchester, West Delaware HS) and middle hitter Hannah Welter (sophomore, Lincoln, Neb., Southwest HS) following at four kills apiece. Stewart had 13 assists and nine digs. Schildroth had nine assists and Zempel dug 12 balls.
“We struggled to pass and when you can’t control the first contact you can’t control the offense,” Clayberg said. “We had no rhythm--everything was choppy.”
Central (8-14) served six aces but lost the battle at the net, hitting .097 to Austin’s .310.
The Dutch wrap up their trip to Texas Saturday, taking on Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) (8-12) at 10:30 a.m. and host Trinity (Texas) (10-12) at 3 p.m.
“We’ll look to take more steps forward tomorrow,” Clayberg said.