The Central Lakes College Raiders didn’t present a lot of drama in head coach Jane Peterson’s quest for 500 victories as they dispatched Fond Du Lac in three quick games to notch their 15th win of the season on Wednesday night.
Lindsay Monson finished with 13 kills, and Alanna Hansen knocked down nine as the Raiders won 25-8, 25-11, and 25-14 to give Peterson her milestone win. Tiffany Hartung tipped 32 set assists, and Monson led the team with three ace serves.
Sarah Miller notched 16 digs and the Raiders, ranked sixth in NJCAA Division III, played well at the net all evening with 14 block attempts.
Carlie Sweet noted how important it was to get the win for coach Peterson.
“It is a real honor just knowing Jane as a person,” Sweet said. “She is so friendly and down to earth. Our motto was to play for her tonight even though she was so humble about it. She didn’t want to bring it up but it was a team effort that we wanted to do it for her.”
Alanna Hansen pointed out that while the team is happy with the accomplishment, they also know that they played just a small part in the journey to 500 wins.
“It’s good to finish with getting her to 500, but we can’t take the credit because of the other teams previous that worked that hard to get that far,” Hansen said. “It is good to get her to that point with so many games left in the season.”
Peterson said one of the most enjoyable parts of the coaching experience is being there for her players at a key time in their lives.
“It’s just two years but it is such a crucial time in their life being away from home. It might be the most important time when you become who you really are and it is fun to be around people at that time in their life,” she said.
CLC played four matches in two days over the weekend in Division II competition in Wahpeton, North Dakota. Both Peterson and the players noted how important it was to play those matches over the weekend and to come out with a strong performance on Wednesday night.
For Sweet, it was about coming together as a group and having fun together.
”This weekend was fun with playing Division II schools and we competed with them a lot. We just decided to have fun with it,” Sweet said.
“We did accomplish what we wanted to do this weekend in North Dakota, we lost,” Peterson said. “We challenged ourselves. That’s why it seems that the focus on the wins is a little bit ironic, because losing is what good teams need to do to become better. The 200 some losses may have been just as meaningful because we learned more from those than from the wins.”
Hansen pointed out that the weekend was all about the opportunity to prepare for what was coming down the road.
“What we are looking for is to get to the national tournament and in nationals you play teams that you haven’t seen before,” Hansen said. “It was good to play teams this weekend that we hadn’t seen before.”
The Raiders certainly didn’t have a hangover from the weekend as they took the first game against Fond Du Lac 25-8. They went on runs of four, seven and five. CLC won the second game 25-11.
In game three, they built a 16-8 lead and didn’t look back, winning 25-14 to seal the win for Peterson. With the win, CLC also improved their record to a perfect 8-0 in division play.
“Every time there has been a big game we have shown up,” Peterson said. “This was a big game for different reasons but they showed up with good energy.”
Assistant coach Ken Miller has also been a big part of the team’s success the past year 10 years and he reflected on his time coaching with Peterson.
“I have had the chance to work with a lot of coaches over the years and Jane has impressed me as much or more than anyone with the time and effort that she puts into it,” Miller said. “Her practices are amazing and she puts the time in to make sure that comes through.”
Miller also talked about the one thing that has been constant with all of Peterson’s teams. “To get better. To always strive to get better,” he said. “I have been here for 10 years and my daughter played here in the mid 90s. It is always the same with Jane that she gets good people. She doesn’t just get good volleyball players, she gets good people and that makes it easier all the way around.”
“What’s really fun is developing relationships with people,” Peterson said. “There are players here who played a long time ago. I don’t know what it means to them but it is just fun. I really appreciate the chance to laugh that people my age maybe just don’t get that opportunity that I do. I appreciate the struggles that they go through and being able to help when I can.”
Fond Du Lac 8 11 14
Central Lakes 25 25 25
Central Lakes statistics
Crysta Christensen 2 kills, 7 digs
Alanna Hansen 9 kills
Hayley Hornick 1 kill, 1 ace serve, 5 digs
Carlie Sweet 2 kills, 1 ace serve, 2 digs
Tatum Hall 1 dig
Tiffany Hartung 32 set assists, 1 ace serve, 4 digs
Sami Knott 7 kills, 1 dig
Amanda Larson 1 dig
Sarah Miller 1 ace serve, 16 digs
Lindsay Monson 13 kills, 3 ace serves, 4 digs, 1 block
Kelana Wurtinger 1 dig
Division: CLC 8-0. Overall: CLC 15-5. Next: Central Lakes vs. Mesabi at Virginia 6:30 p.m. Friday.