Three NCAA Div. III national titles
ARDEN HILLS, MINN.— The Central College volleyball team dropped a pair of matches Saturday to Martin Luther College (Minn.) and Bethel University (Minn.).
The Dutch fell to Martin Luther 25-18, 28-26, 25-17, then were swept by Bethel (7-1) 25-19, 25-20, 25-18 to slip to 1-7. Right-side hitter Liz Ihnen (junior, Sheldon) received all-tournament team honors, one of eight players selected from the six-team tourney.
In the nightcap, Ihnen led the Dutch with 11 kills and hit .474, a career best attack percentage. Setter Claire Stewart (sophomore, Colorado Spring, Colo., Classical Academy) tallied 29 assists and defensive specialist Tori Zempel (freshman, La Porte City, Union Community HS) dug 14 balls.
“We were much more engaged, in sync, aggressive and enthusiastic in the second match,” coach Kent Clayberg said. “The team worked hard against a good Bethel squad, but we just had a series of mental errors that put us in a rut. We had a hard time stringing points together.”
Against Martin Luther (2-6), outside hitters Jessica Laflin (sophomore, Phoenix, Ariz., Horizon Honors HS) and Tess Reinig (senior, Manchester, West Delaware HS) each had five kills. Stewart had 22 assists.
“We came out flat and weren’t reactive,” coach Kent Clayberg said. “We didn’t put ourselves in a position to be successful.”
Central opens the Iowa Conference slate Tuesday, tackling No. 21 Wartburg College (7-1) at 7:30 p.m. at P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium.
“We certainly start league play with a tough opponent,” Clayberg said. “Wartburg is very experienced with a veteran squad and they’re physical. We’ll have to be on top of our game, engaged point-by-point, and be willing to step in and battle.”