Three NCAA Div. III national titles
ROCK ISLAND, ILL.—The Central College volleyball team capped an undefeated weekend at the Augustana (Ill.) Pumpkin Bash with a 3-0 win over North Park (Ill.) and a 3-1 win over Carthage (Wis.).
Following two four-set wins over William Penn and Augustana Friday, the Dutch closed out the weekend with two impressive wins Saturday. Carthage was tied atop the tournament standings after day one with four-set wins over Wartburg and Simpson. North Park was 1-1 with a three-set win over William Penn and a four-set loss to Augustana.
“We had a good day and a good weekend,” coach Kent Clayberg said. “It was a very affirming tournament for our team. We haven’t had the best season, but we continued to preach patience and attention to detail. We felt like we were getting better, but hadn’t seen the results. I am very pleased and very proud of our team.”
In the early match the Dutch (12-19 overall, 1-5 Iowa Conference) shut out the Vikings (10-19 overall). Middle hitter Hannah Welter (junior, Lincoln, Neb., SW HS) led the attack with nine kills, while outside hitter Sara Snead (junior, Altoona, Southeast Polk HS) had eight. Setters Claire Stewart (junior, Colorado Springs, Colo., Classical Academy) and Madison Maddox (freshman, Tulsa, Okla., Bishop Kelley HS) had 18 and nine assists, respectively.
Defense was the story of the tournament, led by defensive specialist Dzenita Bahtic (junior, Urbandale), who had 26 digs. Central also had three players with two blocks apiece.
In the tournament finale Central was a four-set winner over the Lady Reds (12-8 overall).
The Dutch delivered a balanced attack, as four hitters had between six and 10 kills. The top two in kills—Welter and middle hitter Shantell Gish (junior, Cedar Rapids, Prairie HS)—had 10 and nine, respectively, without a single error. Right side hitter Emily Stoakes (sophomore, Gladbrook, Gladbrook-Reinbeck HS) added eight kills. Maddox assisted on 18 kills, while Stewart assisted on 16.
Four players finished with double digits in digs—Bahtic with 27, outside hitter Nicole Ewoldt (freshman, Hull, Boyden Hull HS) with 18, defensive specialist Tori Zempel (sophomore, La Porte City, Union Community HS) with 17 and Stewart with 11. Welter had six blocks, while Gish and middle hitter Kari Sandage (junior, Atlantic) had four each.
Stewart filled out her stat line with five service aces.
“The whole team was great,” Clayberg said. “Each position group had their moments when they had to carry us. Shantell was very consistent and aggressive, both offensively and defensively. She played within herself. Dzenita’s service was excellent and she was a frustrating player for other teams defensively. Hannah presented a very strong presence on the right side.
“We’re going to take this, build on it and use it in our last conference match of the season.”
The Dutch visit Loras (14-15 overall, 4-2 conference) in their regular season finale Tuesday. Last season the Duhawks defeated Central twice—a three-set win in the regular season and a four-set win at the conference tournament.