Three NCAA Div. III national titles
ARDEN HILLS, MINN.— The Central College volleyball team scored its first season victory at the Bethel (Minn.) Invitational Friday, sweeping Northland (Wis.) 25-13, 25-9, 25-19. The Dutch later lost a two-set lead over Carleton (Minn.), falling 21-25, 15-25, 25-15, 25-15, 15-10.
Middle hitter Holly Osborn (senior, Arvada, Colo., Saint Mary’s Academy) led a well-balanced Central attack against Northland (1-4), hitting .667 with eight kills in 12 attempts and no errors. Outside hitter Jessica Laflin (sophomore, Phoenix, Ariz., Horizon Honors HS) also had eight kills and outside hitter Tess Reinig (senior, Manchester, West Delaware HS) posted six kills and eight digs. Setter Claire Stewart (sophomore, Colorado Springs, Colo., Classical Academy) tallied 32 assists.
“Our offense was much faster and our movement much better than last week,” coach Kent Clayberg said. “Every single thing we worked on throughout the week we saw ourselves do well today. It was a dramatic, dramatic improvement.”
Against Carleton (5-0), Reinig, right-side hitter Liz Ihnen (junior, Sheldon) and middle hitter Ashley Pedersen (senior, Humboldt) each had 11 kills. Osborn followed with nine kills. Defensive specialists Lindsey Von Gillern (senior, Omaha, Neb., Millard North HS) and Tori Zempel (freshman, La Porte City, Union Community HS) had 16 digs apiece. Stewart posted her first career double-double with 45 assists and 15 digs.
“We had good balance again in the second match, but the problem was they adjusted after the first two sets and we were slow to adjust to their adjustments,” Clayberg said.
Clayberg highlighted Von Gillern and Stewart, who took up primary setter duties after starter Jill Schildroth (sophomore, Reinbeck, Gladbrook-Reinbeck HS) suffered an injury last week.
“Lindsey played a great match and Claire was very solid and aggressive,” he said. “Claire also played good defense and did a nice job filling in for Jill.”
The Dutch (1-5) are improving every time they take the court.
“We’re finding the team is learning in stages but the good thing is we’re learning,” Clayberg said. “If the team continues to do what it’s been doing we have every reason to believe tomorrow will be a good day.”
Central faces Martin Luther (Minn.) (0-6) at 10 a.m. and takes on host Bethel (3-1) at noon.