After facing Rochester in the third-place game of the NJCAA National Championship last November, The Central Lakes College Raiders stayed and watched one of the best championship games in recent history as Owens of Ohio defeated Eastfield from Texas in five sets.
“We all watched that game to the end and my team was cheering for them,” Raiders head coach Jane Peterson said. “Ken Miller, our assistant coach who has been around volleyball for 40 years, said it was one of the best competitive matches he has seen. They all saw that and want to do that. They know we don’t have a big weak spot so they are all able to lead their group.”
That is why Peterson and her team have November on their mind. Seven players return from last year’s team that finished 27-6 and advanced to the third-place game.
“Last years’ championship was really at a higher level than it has been and so it was motivating for us to make sure we can try and compete at that level,” Peterson said. “There is a pretty big difference between the championship game and the third-place game so that is our goal to get to the championship game. We are writing it down and not afraid to talk about Nov. 16 and 6 p.m. and that is our thing.”
The Raiders return Sydney Forbord, Hailey Tihlarik, Maggi Fellerman, Kylie Porter Sydney Berg and second-year players Lexi Vos and Morgan Balder join them. Fellerman and Forbore each made the all-tournament team last year.
They will also look to defend last year’s Northern Division title, which CLC won with a 12-0 record.
“We have a returning libero, starting setter, starting middle hitter, starting right side hitter and returning outside hitter who all played so the experience they got will be really helpful,” Peterson said. “It is not just their physical abilities, but the mental game. They have been listening to me talk about growth mindset for a year and they have all returned at a different mindset in practice.”
Along with the returning and second-year players, the Raiders welcome seven first-year players to the team. That includes Sarah Benett from St. Cloud,. Jade Porter and Hannah Krych from Pierz. Rory Clark Johnston from Rock River and Haley Schleper from St. Joseph. Lillee Hardee from Brainerd, who played basketball for the Raiders last year, joins the team as a first-year player.
With the current roster, Peterson has been able to set up more competitive situations in practice.
“We have a deeper more powerful team than usual so this last Thursday we split into two teams and there was good competition,” she said. “There are three good outside hitters, three good middle hitters, three good right side players, three setters and three good defensive players so there is competition at every spot. It is really unclear what the starting lineup is and everyone is going to have a chance. So with our athleticism and skill level we have good scrimmages.”
The Raiders will begin the season in St. Cloud with the MCAC Crossover tournament, which allows them to play top teams from the Southern Division. They will also make their annual trip to the Rochester Invite in September and will travel to Devils Lake for a tournament later in the season, along with playing 12 Northern Division games.
Peterson is always learning and does a book study with her team. This year’s focus is a book by sports psychologist Cindra Kamphoff, which is also endorsed by Minnesota Viking Adam Thielen who has a forward in the book
“We are reading together the book “Beyond Grit.” Peterson said. “This ideas of grit has been around for a few years and is a trendy word especially in education and athletics. She talks about what it is to get it and to keep it and what it is good for. It’s about facing and overcoming challenges and getting an opportunity. So one of the last things we talked about was how do you make things happen for you and not to you.”
“I talk about growth mindset everywhere I go to all ages of people in all avenues of life. It is about being positive and forward thinking and how to deal with failure.”
Grit and a little bit more endurance will be key to CLC advancing to that championship game.
“One of the things that we put on our board yesterday that we need to work on is endurance,” Peterson said. “And the other was defensive positioning, getting to the right place and so when you are tired you can focus on doing the things that you have always done.”
CLC Raiders volleyball
Head coach: Jane Peterson, 29th year
Assistant coach: Ken Miller
2018 record: 27-6 overall, 12-0 North Division, North Division champion, Region 13B, in NJCAA Division III National Tournament.
Second-year players:Sydney Forbord (hitter), Hailey Tihlarik (defensive specialist), Maggi Fellerman (hitter), Kylie Porter (setter/hitter), Lexi Vos (hitter), Morgan Balder (setter), Sydney Berg (hitter)
First-year players: Sarah Bennett (setter, defensive specialist), Jade Porter (outside hitter), Lillee hardee (hitter), Nicole Kortan (outside hitter), Hannah Krych (hitter), Rory Clark Johnston (defensive specialist), Haley Schleper (hitter)
Friday, Aug. 23: vs. Ridgewater at MCAC Crossover at St. Cloud Noon
Friday, Aug. 23: vs. Rochester at MCAC Crossover at St. Cloud 2 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 24: vs. Minnesota State at MCAC Crossover at St. Cloud 11 a.m.
Saturday, Aug. 24: vs. St. Cloud Technical at MCAC Crossover at St. Cloud 3 p.m.
Aug. 28: vs. Mayville State at Wahpeton 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 29: vs. North Dakota State College of Science 7 p.m.
Sept. 4: hosts Itasca 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 6: vs. Harper College at Rochester 5 p.m.
Sept. 6: vs. Rock Valley College at Rochester 7 p.m.
Sept. 7: vs. Madison College at Rochester 11 a.m.
Sept. 7: vs. College of DuPage at Rochester 2 p.m.
Sept. 11: at Northland 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 13: at Vermilion 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 14 at Fond du Lac 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 20: hosts Hibbing 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 21: hosts Mesabi Range noon
Sept. 25: at Rainy River 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 2: at Itasca 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 9: hosts Northland 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 11: hosts Vermillion 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 12 hosts Fond du lac noon
Oct. 12 hosts Century College 3 p.m.
Oct. 16 hosts Rainy River 6 p.m.
Oct. 18: vs. Dakota College at Devil’s Lake 9 a.m.
Oct. 18: vs. Williston State College at Devil’s Lake noon
Oct. 19: vs. Dawson at Devil’s Lake 10:30 a.m.
Oct. 19: vs. Bismarck State 3 p.m.
Oct. 23: at Mesabi Range 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 25: at Hibbing 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 1: Region 13B semifinals
Nov. 2: Region 13B finals