Three NCAA Div. III national titles
DUBUQUE—The Central College volleyball team rallied from one set down on two occasions, but fell short in a five-set loss to Iowa Conference foe Dubuque on Tuesday night.
The two teams alternated set wins, but the Spartans (7-10 overall, 1-2 conference) won the first, third and fifth sets for the 25-22, 12-25, 25-23, 25-27, 15-12.
Both teams struggled in the fifth set, as Central hit .000 and Dubuque hit .074. But as the shortened frame wore on, the Spartans took the lead and closed out the match 15-12.
Outside hitter Jessica Laflin (junior, Phoenix, Ariz., Horizon Honors HS) led the offensive attack with team highs in kills (15) and attack percentage (.233). Outside hitter Sara Snead (junior, Altoona, Southeast Polk HS) and middle hitter Hannah Welter (junior, Lincoln, Neb., SW HS) also posted double-digit kills with 11 and 10, respectively. Defensive specialist Dzenita Bahtic (junior, Urbandale) led the defense with 28 digs, while Welter and middle hitter Kari Sandage (junior, Atlantic) each recorded three total blocks. Bahtic also tallied five service aces.
Central hit .342 in the second set and .237 in the fourth set.
The Dutch got out to an early four-point lead in the first set, but the Spartans slowly climbed back and won 25-22. Central responded with an emphatic 25-12 second set win to tie the match at one set apiece. The 12 points is the second fewest allowed by the Dutch in a 25-point set this season.
The third set was a tale of rallies. The Dutch built a sizable lead, only to have Dubuque battle back and take the lead late in the set. Central evened the score at 21-21, but the Spartans won the next two points and held on for a 25-23 win.
Dubuque was quick out of the gate in the fourth set and built a four-point lead. The Dutch fought back, tied the score at 13-13 and took a 16-14 lead. After Dubuque evened the score late in the set, the two teams went back-and-forth until Central closed it out at 27-25.
But the Spartans responded, winning the fifth set and the match.
The Dutch (6-12 overall, 0-3 conference) are back in action on Friday and Saturday at the SMU Cardinal Invitational in Winona, Minn.