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College Volleyball: Raiders improve to 10-0 with victory over Northland

The Central Lakes College Raiders couldn't be blamed for having a little swagger as they entered their showdown with Northland ranked fourth in the latest NJCAA Division III poll with a 10-0 record.

CLC Raider middle hitter Rachel Mathias defends against a Northland Community and Technical College volley Wednesday night at CLC Brainerd campus. (Brainerd Dispatch/ Steve Kohls)
CLC Raider middle hitter Rachel Mathias defends against a Northland Community and Technical College volley Wednesday night at CLC Brainerd campus. (Brainerd Dispatch/ Steve Kohls)

The Central Lakes College Raiders couldn't be blamed for having a little swagger as they entered their showdown with Northland ranked fourth in the latest NJCAA Division III poll with a 10-0 record.

The Pioneers and Raiders games have usually been very competitive, but Northland entered the game with 1-2 division record and a 4-4 overall record.

The first two games went the Raiders way with wins of 25-20 and 26-24, but Northland took the next two games to force the fifth. CLC took the deciding match, prevailing with a 15-5 score.

"We just completely stopped communicating as a team and weren't excited," said Ashton Kapphahn, who finished with 41 set assists and 11 digs. "I think that we just thought that we were going to take the third game, and it completely changed the tempo."

Ellen Stromgren led CLC with 11 kills, followed by Rachel Mathias with 10 kills and five blocks. Britta Torgerson scooped 15 digs and Ashley Abear recorded 14.

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In the third game the Raiders held a 14-10 lead only to see Northland score the next four points to tie the game at 14. Northland then went on a five point run to take a 19-14 lead that they wouldn't give up in winning Game Three by a 25-22 score.

Game Four went much the same way as CLC led 10-6 before the Pioneers cut the deficit again to tie the game at 12. "They (Northland) played unafraid and wanting to win and you could see a little fear on our side which hasn't happened before," said head coach Jane Peterson. "That happens when a team is forcing you into making mistakes over and over again and we were a little unsure."

The team did recover and the Raiders took a 23-21 lead, but Northland managed to come back to take a 25-24 lead. The two teams traded leads with Northland finally prevailing to force a fifth and deciding game.

"We all were very serious and we wanted to win," Kapphahn said. "All of us agreed that we need to communicate, serve and pass better. We did that and we came out and got a good lead. Our goal was to get to eight first so we had momentum going to the other side of the court."

They came out with a purpose in the fifth game and took control, going on a six point run to lead 14-3. The Pioneers would score one more time before CLC closed out the match with a 15-4 score.

"So far this year this team has always shown up when they needed to and have practiced with intensity like it matters," Peterson said of her team. "Our uncertainty was keeping us from having our best effort and that is the mental part of the game."

The Raiders head to Rochester this weekend for a two day tournament that includes Madison, currently ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA poll.

"This was our first match going to five games all season and we already have a 10-0 record and we are going into a tournament this weekend facing Madison which is the number one team in the nation," Kapphahn said." We needed a game like this to show that we aren't as good as we can be."

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Northland 20 24 25 28 5

Central Lakes 25 26 22 26 15

Central Lakes statistics

Jenny Skoog 9 kills, 1 ace serve, 10 digs

Alex Lucken 2 set assists, 6 digs

Ashley Abear 14 digs

Ashton Kapphahn 5 kills, 41 set assists, 2 ace serves, 18 digs, 1 block

Ellen Stromgren 11 kills, 1 ace serve, 2 digs, 2 blocks

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Faith Kassulker 4 set assists, 2 digs, 1 block

Journee Howard 7 kills, 1 set assist, 2 ace serves, 3 digs

Rachel Mathias 10 kills, 1 ace serve, 5 digs, 5 blocks

Britta Torgerson 2 ace serves, 15 digs, 1 block

Division: CLC 4-0. Overall: CLC 10-0. Next: Central Lakes at Rochester Tournament: vs. Harper, Ill., 3 p.m. Friday; vs. Madison, Wis., 7 p.m. Friday.

Related Topics: COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL
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