Central Lakes College volleyball players Dana tenCate and Andrea Almsted were fish out of water. But the two Raiders jumped in the water and swam anyway.
Playing without starting setter Amy Fleischhacker, who was attending a funeral, tenCate and Almsted filled in admirably, leading the Raiders to a 2-2 record at the CLC Crossover tournament Thursday at Brainerd High School.
CLC dropped its first two matches to South Division powerhouses Ridgewater 2-1 and to Rochester 2-1. The Raiders then followed up with a 2-1 win over Hibbing and a 2-1 victory over Fergus Falls, the nation's top-ranked Division III team.
"It's always good to end playing your best and I felt we did that," Peterson said of the win over Fergus Falls. "We started out well against Ridgewater, who's a good, fast team. If any other team didn't have their setter and played this good with two people that haven't ever set before, then that's huge."
CLC Crossover tournament
Game line: The Raiders went 2-2 on the day and beat Fergus Falls, the nations top ranked Division III team.
Overall: CLC 21-8
Next: CLC at the Minnesota Community College Conference state tournament, Thief River Falls, Oct. 30-31.
Almsted, who finished with 41 set assists, and tenCate, who had 62, started setting in practice on Wednesday. Almsted has played middle hitter her entire life while tenCate has played nearly every position on the court but setter.
"I set a long time ago when I was little and couldn't really remember how to do it," tenCate said. "We practiced running the 4-2 on Wednesday and it was getting pretty nerve-wracking. We really didn't know how to run it but Andrea and I stepped up and we did well."
Peterson was impressed with how tenCate and Almsted tackled the job and handled the pressure of running CLC's high-octane offense.
"Dana and Andrea have set in practice before," said Peterson. "It's part of their position, sort of, but it's not decision making all the time and that constant going after every ball. I was very impressed with both Dana and Andrea. We told them what we wanted and they just went out and did it."
The Raiders, who beat Fergus Falls three weeks ago, captured the all important first game 34-32, but it wasn't easy.
Midway through a tight first game, the Raiders went on a four-point run and held a 29-26 lead. But the Spartans came back to tie the game at 29. The two teams traded points until kills by Lane tenCate and Shannon McCarthy closed out the win.
McCarthy led CLC with 42 kills and 14 blocks for the tournament. Courtney Stach added 30 kills, Lane tenCate 26 kills and Jillian Maki 23 kills in a balanced CLC attack.
The second game looked to be a route as the Raiders opened a 21-13 lead on a Maki kill. But Fergus Falls chipped away at the lead and got within one at 26-25. Again the two team traded points but a Stach kill and two Spartan errors gave CLC the win.
"We talked about what good would come out of this tournament," Peterson said, "and I felt that with people in different positions that would make us communicate better. It would make people step up their games and we did that."
Ridgewater def. CLC 30-26, 27-30, 15-12
Rochester def. CLC 28-30, 30-28, 15-13
CLC def. Hibbing 31-29, 28-30, 15-13
CLC def. Fergus Falls 34-32, 30-27, 13-15
Katy Goldsmith 2 aces, 1 ace, 1 set assist, 36 digs
Melissa Lease 10 digs
Maggie Wizner 6 digs
Courtney Stach 30 kills, 6 set assists, 5 aces, 46 digs, 4 blocks
Jean Koester 5 kills, 2 aces, 7 digs, 2 blocks
Dana tenCate 7 kill, 62 set assists, 6 aces, 17 digs, 4 blocks
Shannon McCarthy 42 kills, 2 set assist, 1 ace, 22 digs, 14 blocks
Lane tenCate 26 kills, 3 aces, 17 digs, 5 blocks
Jillian Maki 23 kills, 2 set assists, 3 aces, 16 digs, 9 blocks
Andrea Almsted 13 kills, 41 set assists, 3 digs, 5 block
Overall -- CLC 21-8. Next match -- CLC at MCCC state tournament, Thief River Falls, Oct. 30-31.
TROY GUNDERSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5865.
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