College Volleyball: Raiders lose hard-fought consolation final
ROCHESTER - A group of seven sophomores, led by Ashton Kapphahn and Jenny Skoog, played their final match for the Central Lakes College Raiders in the consolation championship Saturday in the NJCAA Division III tournament at the Rochester Regiona...
ROCHESTER - A group of seven sophomores, led by Ashton Kapphahn and Jenny Skoog, played their final match for the Central Lakes College Raiders in the consolation championship Saturday in the NJCAA Division III tournament at the Rochester Regional Sports Center.
In a hard-fought match that went five sets, the Raiders came up just short as they lost 3-2 to Lorain County Community College of Elyria, Ohio.
Kapphahn finished her career with six kills, 44 set assists, four ace serves, eight digs, and five blocks.
Skoog contributed nine kills, two set assists, one ace serve, and 15 digs and Ashley Abear was strong on defense with 12 digs.
"We played better than (Friday) and I do think we are two pretty evenly matched teams," said CLC coach Jane Peterson. "There was good effort for the ball today and better communication and longer rallies that made it fun to watch."
This was a rematch of last year's quarterfinals in which Lorain won in dramatic fashion in five games. The Raiders were looking for revenge, and the opportunity to send their sophomores out in style.
They looked strong in Game One as the Raiders had a four-point run to take a 9-8 lead on Kapphahn's first ace serve. There was also a five-point run that put the Raiders up 17-11 on their way to a 25-18 win.
The Commodores bounced back in the second game to win 25-14 and even things up. In Game Three, a six-point run put Lorain up 8-5. CLC fought back to trail 11-10 but couldn't tie it and Lorain went on to win 25-20.
In a must-win situation in Game Four, the Raiders responded with an ace serve from Britta Torgerson to put CLC up 7-2 and CLC finished off that run leading 13-2. The Raiders made it 20-6 later in the match and went on to win 25-15 to bring on the fifth game.
It wasn't meant to be, as Lorain took a 4-0 lead before CLC got on the scoreboard. A tip from Kapphahn brought the deficit to just one but the Commodores did not give up the lead. The teams tied at 11, 12, and 13 before Lorain scored the last two points for the 15-13 win.
It was an emotional group of Raiders that met after the game and tears were shed. They had entered the tournament with dreams of getting a spot in the championship match but had to settle for a 1-2 record and a sixth-place finish.
"There was a lot of things that I learned about how we play during the season and the kind we need to be playing at the end," said Peterson. "Winning during the regular season isn't enough, and that has been the key to our long-standing success. Right now we aren't feeling so good but 27-4 is pretty successful. I hope that someday after this they can dwell on the success that they had."
The sophomores they can look back on their last two years with a great deal of pride. They compiled a 45-13 record and won two MCAC Northern Division championships, with a perfect 14-0 record this year. They were also a two-time Region 13B champion with a 3-3 record in two national tournaments.
"I am imagining it will be hard for them to not have each other to go to. A lot of them are graduating in December and will be gone. They have to think about what they want to do next and that is a hard thing to do at age 19 to leave what you love behind," said Peterson.
Rachel Mathias, Kaitlynn Christen, and Faith Kassulker will lead a strong group of returning players who will be hungry for a return to the national tournament in 2016.
"That is what is supposed to happen," said Peterson. "They are supposed to see it and know it and be able to say that from the beginning we want more than just to win Northern Division games. We want to be able to get here and perform well and hopefully they will remember that."
Rochester national champion
Rochester (Minn.) won the championship ousting Brookhaven (Texas) 25-22, 27-25, 13-25, 25-13. The tournament's No. 4 seed, Rochester opened with a four-set victory over Lorain. The Yellowjackets then beat top-seeded and defending national champion Madison (Wis.) in a five sets.
Lorain 18 25 25 15 13
Central Lakes 25 14 20 25 15
Central Lakes vs. Lorain
Justyne Litzau 1 ace serve, 2 digs
Jenny Skoog 9 kills, 2 set assists, 1 ace serve, 15 digs
Alex Lucken 1 set assist, 5 digs
Ashley Abear 2 set assists, 20 digs
Kaitlynn Christen 10 kills, 10 digs
Ashton Kapphahn 6 kills, 44 set assists, 4 ace serves, 8 digs, 5 blocks
Ellen Stromgren 5 kills, 2 set assists, 1 ace serve, 5 digs, 2 blocks
Faith Kassulker 1 block
Journee Howard 4 kills, 4 blocks
Rachel Mathias 17 kills, 1 ace serve, 3 blocks
Britta Torgerson 1 kill, 1 ace serve, 10 digs
Overall: CLC finishes 27-4.