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College Volleyball: Raiders sweep in quarterfinal win

Central Lakes College's volleyball team celebrates after beating Mesabi Saturday, Nov. 3, at Central Lakes College for the Region 13B championship. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch file photo

ROCHESTER—The Central Lakes College Raiders moved one step closer to a national championship as they overpowered Jamestown of New York 3-0 Thursday, Nov. 8, in the quarterfinals of the NJCAA Division III National Tournament at the UCR Regional Sports Center.

The No. 2-seeded Raiders were pushed in the first game by No. 7-seeded Jamestown, who got their shot to face the Raiders by defeating No. 10 Nassau 3-0 in the first round of the tournament earlier in the day.

The top four teams received first-round byes, and the Raiders got to watch the Jamestown attack game, led by Jenna Caskey.

Head coach Jane Peterson knew the Raiders' block was going to cause opponents a problem, and that was the case with Jamestown as the Raiders tallied 18 blocks for the match, led by five from Cassie Smieja and Maggi Fellerman.

The Raiders held a lead in the first set that went as high as 5, but Jamestown pushed them to a 24-24 tie. CLC was able to finish off two straight points to win the first set 26-24.

The second set went the Raiders' way in a 25-20 win, and they were dominant in the attack game in a 25-14 win in the third set to close out the match.

"Our block showed up!" said Peterson. "We struggled at the beginning with nerves, but as usual we figured out how to win. I was really pleased with our ability to watch them play and then know what to expect.

"We have some experienced players—which really helps! That experience should lead to confidence. I'm hoping that will show up tomorrow."

Fellerman led the way with 11 kills, and Paige Wallevand and Sydney Berg each added eight kills. As has been the case all season, the setting game was strong with Wallevand totaling 17 set assists, and Kylie Porter notching 13. Hailey Tihlarik led a strong receive game from the back row with 15 digs.

With the win, the Raiders move on to the semifinals on Friday night where they will face No. 3 seed Eastfield, who defeated No. 6 Lorain 3-0. It will be a chance for CLC to avenge a semifinal loss to Eastfield in last year's tournament.

All of the top seeds advanced as No. 1 Owens and No. 4 Rochester each won in straight sets.

Jamestown 24 20 14

Central Lakes 26 25 25

Raider statistics

Sydney Forbord 2 kills, 2 blocks

Cassie Smieja 5 kills, 2 digs, 5 blocks

Hailey Tihlarik 2 set assists, 1 ace serve, 15 digs

Maggi Fellerman 11 kills, 2 digs, 5 blocks

Kaitlyn Luksik 1 kill, 2 set assists, 3 digs, 2 blocks

Kylie Porter 13 set assists

Paige Wallevand 8 kills, 17 set assists, 3 digs, 2 blocks

Sydney Berg 8 kills, 4 digs, 2 blocks

Overall: CLC 27-4. Next: CLC in NJCAA Division III National Tournament, UCR Regional Sports Center, Rochester, Friday, Nov. 9: Consolation semifinals 2 p.m., championship semifinals 7 p.m.