Three NCAA Div. III national titles
DUBUQUE—In its final regular season match, the Central College volleyball team rolling on a four-match win streak, defeated conference rival Loras College Tuesday night, 25-20, 25-23, 20-25, 25-16.
A balanced Dutch attack quieted the Duhawk offense. Central hit .194 percent for the match and .286 and .282 in sets two and four, respectively. The Dutch held Loras to a mere .095 percent for the match.
“Tonight’s match was several different matches rolled into one,” said coach Kent Clayberg. “There were times when our hitters were playing well, our defense was playing well and our block was doing well. Each position stepped up and carried the team at different points in the match.
“I love the fact that this team can work and struggle, and then keep coming back,” he said. “And we are starting to come through.”
Outside hitter Sara Snead (junior, Altoona, Southeast Polk HS) led the Dutch attack with 12 kills and .250 hitting percentage. Hannah Welter (junior, Lincoln, Neb., Lincoln SW HS) dominated the net with 11 kills and 3 blocks, including one solo block. Welter had 29 attempts and just four errors. Outside hitter Nicole Ewoldt (freshman, Hull, Boyden Hull HS) had six kills and 16 digs.
Right-side Emily Stoakes (sophomore, Gladbrook, Gladbrook-Reinbeck HS) and middle hitter Shantell Gish (junior, Cedar Rapids, Prairie HS) each contributed five kills. Stoakes hit .308 percent and had two block assists. Gish went up for three block assists. Middle hitter Kari Sandage (junior, Atlantic) had four kills and four blocks, with two solo blocks.
“Our block disappeared in game three and then completely took over in game four,” Clayberg said. “Our hitters used every shot in the book and our setters were aggressive and smart. Our defense never allowed Loras to go on multiple-point runs. It was a very balanced team effort.
“Sara was very effective on the outside and she played smart with her varied shots,” he said. “Emily and Hannah really established a block on the right side. Loras has strong outside hitters, and our right sides really helped impact the match by setting up a good block.”
Setters Claire Stewart (junior, Colorado Springs, Colo., Classical Academy HS) and Madii Maddox (freshman, Tulsa, Okla., Bishop Kelley HS) tallied 23 and 18 assists, respectively. Stewart also had nine digs. Libero Dzenita Bahtic (junior, Urbandale) had 34 digs and defensive specialist Tori Zempel (sophomore, La Porte City, Union Community HS) had 12 digs.
“Dzenita and Tori played very well and kept us in system,” Clayberg said. “Claire did a nice job keeping us steady throughout the match.”
The Dutch (13-19 overall, 2-5 conference) were competing for a chance at the Iowa Conference Tournament. Coe College, Wartburg College, Loras College, Luther College and Simpson College have all clinched spots in the tournament. The final team in the tournament will be determined at the conclusion of tomorrow’s conference matches.