Three NCAA Div. III national titles
BLOOMINGTON, ILL.—In its last weekend competition before postseason play, the Central College volleyball team came away with a split at the Illinois Wesleyan Barker Classic 3 Friday.
The Dutch swept Eureka College (Ill.) 25-20, 25-20, 25-18 after falling to Webster University (Mo.) 25-22, 23-25, 25-16, 25-21. Central is fine tuning the details before the six-team Iowa Conference tourney begins Tuesday.
Right-side hitter Jessica Laflin (sophomore, Phoenix, Ariz., Horizon Honors HS) had seven kills and five blocks against Eureka (4-27). Outside hitter Tess Reinig (senior, Manchester, West Delaware HS) had five kills. Setters Jill Schildroth (sophomore, Reinbeck, Gladbrook-Reinbeck HS) and Claire Stewart (sophomore, Colorado Springs, Colo., Classical Academy HS) had 16 and eight assists, respectively. Libero Tori Zempel (freshman, La Porte City, Union Community HS) had eight digs and defensive specialist Emily Eberhardt (sophomore, Sperry, Mediapolis HS) had seven. Middle hitter Hannah Welter (sophomore, Lincoln, Neb., Southwest HS) put up four blocks.
The Dutch (9-17) tallied 10 ace serves and hit an efficient .333 in the third set.
In the opener against Webster (19-9), Reinig posted 13 kills. Middle hitter Ashley Pedersen (senior, Humboldt) had nine terminations. Welter had four blocks. Zempel tallied 42 digs and Eberhardt had 17. Schildroth had 26 assists and Stewart had 19.
Coach Kent Clayberg highlighted the play of Reinig and Zempel.
“Tess played with passion tonight,“ he said. “I was proud of her effort. And Tori played much more aggressive.”
Although things improved against Eureka, the opening match was touch-and-go.
“The first match was absolutely disappointing and a frustrating effort,” Clayberg said. “It was not what we came here to do. We have one more day to prepare for the conference tournament and we need to pick things up significantly tomorrow.”
The Dutch meet Carthage College (Wis.) at noon and Illinois Wesleyan at 2 p.m. Saturday. Carthage is 22-11 overall and is receiving votes the AVCA Division III coaches’ poll. The Fightin’ Titans are 17-13.