Three NCAA Div. III national titles
SAINT PETER, MINN. — After splitting matches the first day of the Gustavus Adolphus Invitational (Minn.), the Central College volleyball team slipped and dropped two three-set matches.
Wis.-River Falls tripped the Dutch 25-22, 25-15, 27-25 and Minn.-Morris stopped Central 32-30, 25-18, 25-19.
“Today was the same story as yesterday, just different teams,” said coach Kent Clayberg. “Things would be going well, and then we would allow a six- or seven-point run. We weren’t competitive. In the final set against River Falls we just had too many hitting and service errors.”
Middle hitter Hannah Welter (junior, Lincoln, Neb., Lincoln SW HS) and outside hitter Sara Snead (junior, Altoona, Southeast Polk HS) each had eight kills against Wis.-River Falls. Snead also had eight digs. Setter Claire Stewart (junior, Colorado Springs, Colo., Classical Academy) totaled 27 assists. Libero Tori Zempel (sophomore, La Porte City, Union Community HS) had 19 digs. Defensive specialists Dzenita Bahtic (junior, Urbandale) and Courtney Allen (junior, Grinnell) picked up 10 and eight digs, respectively.
“Claire did a very nice job the entire weekend keeping us in system as much as possible,” said Clayberg. “She did her very best to make sure we could be competitive.”
Central aimed high for the second match against Minn.-Morris, but fell short after battling in the first set.
“We competed much better in the second game,” he said. “We made some plays, but we just couldn’t find a way to get it done.”
Outside hitter Jessica Laflin (junior, Phoenix, Ariz., Horizon Honors HS) had a team-high seven kills and Snead terminated six hits and had 10 digs. Stewart tallied 21 assists and 11 digs. Zempel had 20 digs and Bahtic accumulated nine digs.
“Tori, Dzenita and Sara all played very good defense today,” Clayberg said. “In general, our defense improved during day two.”
The Dutch (3-7) have little time to rest as they travel to Wartburg College for their first conference matchup Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.