Kelly Pearson smacked eight kills and collected five digs as the Central Lakes College Raiders finished their regular season Wednesday night with a 3-0 Northern Division victory over Itasca.
The division champion Raiders, who are ranked No. 2 in the NJCAA Division III poll, finished 14-0 in division play and reeled off their 16th straight win. CLC won 11 of its 14 division matches by 3-0 sweeps.
“It feels good that (we’ve remained unbeaten in division play),” said Raiders coach Jane Peterson. “That’s done, and now it doesn’t really matter. It’s not something that you can rely on and pat yourself on the back for for too long.
“We will have to beat Itasca again, and beat someone else to win (the region). It was a goal though and the players are all happy about it.”
Sam Schlangen served up five aces and assisted on 17 sets and Shelby Uphoff drilled six kills for the Raiders, who are 25-2 overall.
“This was a really good team game,” said Peterson. “We were smart and our setters did a great job distributing. Sam (Schlangen) had a great attacking game and our outside hitters were what they needed to be. That’s a good feeling.
“We were ahead most of the time. (Itasca) had a hard time getting the ball to their main hitter because we were serving to the right place with the right aggressiveness.”
CLC’s Lindsay Monson, who added seven kills and three ace serves, was named the division hitter of the week. Sarah Miller, who contributed six digs, was the libero of the week.
“(Monson and Miller) have both gotten those titles many times,” said Peterson. “When people think about the libero, they think about defense, but it really is the start of the offense. Other teams have to worry about our offense.
“Sarah’s stability and consistency is the key and the beginning of our offense. She can frustrate the other team’s hitters. She makes our team better.
“(Monson) makes the players around her better and you can see it happen. They respect her and she deserves that respect. She cheers just as loud when someone else gets the kill. Both (Monson and Miller) have a good understanding of the game and they can appreciate the little things. They’ve both been great leaders.”
Up next for the Raiders is the Region 13 North tournament that they will host Nov. 8-9. CLC opens the region against Itasca.
Itasca 18 18 17
Central Lakes 25 25 25
Central Lakes statistics
Alyssa Hamilton 5 kills, 1 dig
Kelly Pearson 8 kills, 5 digs, 2 blocks
Sarah Miller 8 digs
Keiana Wurtinger 2 digs
Maggie Jacobson 3 digs, 2 assists
Sidne Mann 1 kill, 5 digs, 1 block, 1 set assist
Sam Schlangen 2 kills, 5 ace serves, 5 digs, 17 set assists
Shelby Uphoff 6 kills, 1 dig, 2 blocks
Tatum Hall 1 dig
Cassie Shaver 6 digs
Rose Mitchell 3 kills, 1 dig
Tiffany Hartung 1 ace serve, 3 digs, 22 set assists
Lindsay Monson 7 kills, 3 ace serves, 4 digs, 2 blocks
Courtney Dilley 4 kills, 1 block, 1 set assist
Division: CLC 14-0. Overall: CLC 25-2. Next: CLC vs. Itasca in Region 13 North tournament at CLC 6 p.m. Nov. 8; Mesabi vs. Northland at CLC 8 p.m. Nov 8; winners play at CLC at 1 p.m. Nov. 9.