Three NCAA Div. III national titles
PELLA—Central College battled to set points but couldn’t close the deal, suffering a 29-27, 25-10, 27-25 Iowa Conference defeat against Loras College Tuesday.
Central (8-16 overall, 2-5 conference) erased a 20-13 deficit in the opening set and were serving for the win at 27-26, but dropped the next three points. Loras (15-16 overall, 5-2 conference) carried the momentum through the second set before the Dutch regained their footing in the final set. Central pushed to a 19-17 lead but the Duhawks inched back to pull out the three-set victory.
Coach Kent Clayberg said it’s all in the little things.
“When we take care of the details we do pretty well,” he said. “But we had too many mental gaps and gave up points we shouldn’t give up.
“We had chances to take the match tonight but we just missed. We need to be purposeful and more intentional in the details and play point-to-point.”
Outside hitter Tess Reinig (senior, Manchester, West Delaware HS) had 11 kills. Outside hitter Sara Snead (sophomore, Altoona, Southeast Polk HS) followed with eight kills and right-side hitter Sam Retz (senior, Atkins, Benton Community HS) had five kills and four blocks. Middle hitter Kari Sandage (sophomore, Atlantic) came off the bench to put up four blocks, including two solo blocks.
Setters Claire Stewart (sophomore, Colorado Springs, Colo., Classical Academy) and Jill Schildroth (sophomore, Reinbeck, Gladbrook-Reinbeck HS) each had 16 assists. Libero Tori Zempel (freshman, La Porte City, Union Community HS) had 14 digs and defensive specialist Emily Huegel (senior, Bettendorf, Pleasant Valley HS) had nine.
Central recorded nine team blocks but was outhit by Loras .195 to .138. The Duhawks fired a .545 attack percentage in the second set.
The Dutch journey to Bloomington, Ill., Friday and Saturday for the Illinois Wesleyan Barker Classic 3 tournament. Central meets Webster (Mo.) and Eureka (Ill.) Friday at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively, and face Carthage (Wis.) and Illinois Wesleyan Saturday.
The weekend tourney is Central’s final tune-up before the six-team postseason league tournament, which determines the conference’s automatic qualifier for the NCAA Division III championships. The Dutch are seeded sixth and will likely play at Loras Oct. 30.
“We need to work on specific details in Illinois,” Clayberg said. “If we can find some control and faith in those little things then we can go to Dubuque Tuesday and be very confident in our ability to be successful.”