ROCHESTER—Living up to their fourth-place seeding, the Central Lakes College Raiders made it to the third-place game before losing to the No. 4 seed Eastfield 3-0 in the NJCAA Division III tournament Saturday at the UCR Regional Sports Center. Too many unforced errors and a lack of a consistent attack game did the Raiders in by scores of 25-17, 25-16, 27-25. Rachel Mathias and Kaitlynn Christen made the all-tournament team, and for the four CLC sophomores it was an ending to a successful run with two appearances in the national tournament.
Central Lakes College head coach Cassie Carey enters her third year at the helm of the Raiders' women's basketball team excited about the potential of the team she's putting on the floor this season. Last year, the Raiders were improved in their second year under Carey, finishing 11-13 overall and 6-8 and in fifth place in the Northern Division of the Minnesota College Athletic Conference. The top four teams in the division earn a spot in the state tournament.
As head coach Jim Russell leads his team into the season, and starts his 20th year at Central Lakes College, the foundation of his team, as always, will be the key to a successful season. That is the play of the point guard and the post and the opportunities that open up. The Raiders open their season at 8 p.m. Friday at Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls. With Shawn McGee, Avery Smith, TrayVon Lackey, Nick Wiesmann and Lamontrell Fuller returning, the Raiders are looking to establish their identity early in the season.
NJCAA Division III Championship UCR Regional Sports Center Rochester, MN Friday: Quarterfinals: No. 4 Central Lakes vs. No. 5 Columbus (Ohio) 12:30 p.m.; consolation semifinals 2 p.m., championship semifinals 3:30 p.m. Saturday: Seventh place 10 a.m., fifth place 10 a.m., third place 12:30 p.m., championship 2 p.m. As the seventh-ranked team, and Region 13B champions, the Central Lakes College Raiders travel to Rochester for the NJCAA Division III National Tournament this weekend with their sights set on the program's fourth national championship.
A strong attack game, and a steady pass-receive game were the key for the Central Lakes Raiders as they moved on to the championship game of the Region 13B tournament with a 3-0 win over the Lady Norse Friday on the CLC campus. The No. 1 seeded Raiders improved their record to 9-0 in sets against No. 4 Mesabi in the 2016 season behind 17 kills from Rachel Mathias and seven from Britta Torgerson with CLC getting their 20th win of the season.
At approximately 4 p.m. Sunday, either Central Lakes College or North Dakota State College of Science players will be celebrating a state championship. For the sophomores on either team, it will be redemption for the way the 2016 season ended. CLC head coach Greg Medeck and the Raiders hope they will be the ones celebrating. Last year the Raiders lost 39-35 to NDSCS at Wahpeton, N.D., in a thrilling semifinal. A week later, the Wildcats lost in the state championship game to Rochester 45-41.
The Northern Division champion Central Lakes Raiders hope to claim a third consecutive trip to the NJCAA National Tournament as they host the Region 13B Tournament Friday and Saturday. By virtue of their 13-1 conference record they earned the right to have the region tournament on their home floor. The No. 1-seeded Raiders will take on No. 4 Mesabi at 6 p.m. Friday followed by No. 2 Rainy River and No. 3 Itasca at 8 p.m. The winners will play for the championship at noon Saturday. --- --- --- COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL Region 13B Tournament
Central Lakes College sophomore outside hitter Rachel Mathias has been having an outstanding second year after finishing the 2015 season being named to the All-Northern Division first team and the All-MCAC second team. The sophomore from Heron Lake was named NJCAA Division III national player of the week Oct. 10-16. She accumulated 4.33 kills per set with a .441 hitting percentage during that time frame. Raiders head coach Jane Peterson compared a baseball batting average to a volleyball percentage in highlighting Mathias' accomplishment.
With a perfect regular season on the line, the Central Lakes College Raiders rose to the challenge behind a strong performance by their defense, and a ball control offense to defeat Northland 30-6 on alumni day Saturday at Findorff Field. CLC, ranked 10th in the NJCAA poll, had already clinched the division title and home-field advantage through the quarterfinals and semifinals. Northland also had its playoff spot secured before the start of the game. The Pioneers could only manage 58 yards rushing, and 159 total yards for the game, while turning the ball over six times.
Facing a mini crisis of confidence, the Central Lakes College Raiders needed a good showing over the weekend, and they came through with a 3-game win against Mesabi Friday and continued with a 3-game win against Vermilion in a Northern Division match Saturday. The Raiders beat Vermilion by scores of 25-18, 25-18, 25-11. While still having some lapses in parts of the first two games, they were able to get a more diversified attacking game with Britta Torgerson and Rachel Mathias each getting 10 kills, and Kaitlynn Christen totaling eight.