There has been no such thing as a sophomore jinx on the Central Lakes College volleyball team this fall.
Eight sophomores made what could be their final home appearance Monday with a 30-22, 30-18, 30-17 North Division win over Itasca.
Jenni Fischer, Katie Bell, Katie Foss, Marie Kern, Becca Nagel, Amanda Meyer, Dana Dickinson and Toni Elyea have been among the key components that have helped CLC compile a 12-1 division record and an 18-5 overall mark.
Many were key performers in last year's march to the NJCAA Division III national championship.
"We've been talking a lot about this group in the last week," Raiders coach Jane Peterson said. "After the Fergus Falls game, which we won in three games, nobody was satisfied, and I certainly wasn't, and they weren't surprised that I wasn't.
"After that game we kind of had a little meeting about what we want to do, what does this group want to do and how we have to be better than that to do it."
Dickinson, who had a team-high 15 kills Monday, has enjoyed her experience at CLC and hopes it ends with another national championship.
"I like the girls I play volleyball with," Dickinson said. "We work well together. Some of us live together. We've known each other for a long time. We always have a good time."
The Raiders had an easy time with Itasca, which suited up just six players, all of whom had to play every single minute.
"We're one of the better teams in the conference," Dickinson said, "and we already beat them once, in three games. We kind of figured what was going to happen, but we still have to play our best no matter what. We have to get ready for playoff time."
CLC won Monday's first game on a Dickinson kill that deflected off the net and onto the court. Freshman Jessica Heitzman provided the spark in the second game as she served six points in a row. Val Diedrich served 10 straight points to highlight the final game.
Peterson said it's been a challenge for the Raiders to find competition. Seventeen of CLC's wins were three-game sweeps. The other was in five games against Division II North Dakota State College of Science.
If CLC and Rainy River win Wednesday they are tentatively scheduled to play Friday at Hibbing to determine which team earns an automatic bid to the Region 13 tournament.
Jenni Fischer 1 ace serve, 4-6 serving, 3 digs
Katie Bell 3 kills, 27 set assists, 3 ace serves, 14-15 serving, 7 digs, two block assists
Toni Elyea 1 ace serve, 3-3 serving,
Jessica Heitzman 1 kill, 4 ace serves, 12-12 serving, 4 digs
Katie Foss 1 ace serve, 5-6 serving, 3 digs
Marie Kern 5 kills, 1 solo block, 4 block assists
Jessica Melheim 3 kills, 1 dig
Amanda Meyer 4 kills, 2 ace serves, 12-13 serving, 7 digs, 2 block assists
Dana Dickinson 15 kills, 2 ace serves, 8-8 serving, 11 digs, 2 solo blocks, 1 block assist
Jessica Pohlkamp 1 kill, 4-4 serving, 5 digs
Val Diedrich 3 kills, 3 ace serves, 12-13 serving, 1 dig
Shanna Jevning 1 kill, 1-1 serving, 4 digs
Conference -- CLC 12-1. Overall -- CLC 18-5. Next match -- CLC vs. Northland at Thief River Falls 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
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