It's an attitude the Central Lakes College women's volleyball team took during the NJCAA Division III tournament at Rochester last weekend.
The idea was spurred by a motivational speaker who spoke the night before the tournament to all those involved.
Sophomore Lisa Kurtz, who played her final game as a Raider and could be on her way to All-American honors for a second straight season, said the attitude was something the team adopted as it rolled through the tournament with a perfect 5-0 record to give CLC its third national title in seven seasons.
"After that speaker everyone took her undefeatable attitude and applied it to our team," Kurtz said. "She preached that you can choose your attitude and that was kind of our theme for the weekend."
Central Lakes College Raiders volleyball coach Jane Peterson smiled after the Raiders defeated Northland earlier this season. Peterson now has an overall record of 425-165 (.720) in her 17 seasons at CLC after the Raiders won their third NJCAA Division III title last weekend.
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Perhaps the biggest storyline for the Raiders over the past two seasons has been their rivalry with Ridgewater College of Willmar that appears to be intensifying with each passing season.
Last season, CLC defeated Ridgewater for the MCCC state championship before falling to the Warriors at the national tournament in the semifinals. This year the roles were reversed as Ridgewater defeated CLC for the state championship before the two teams again met in the national tournament, this time in the championship game.
CLC defeated Ridgewater in four intense games to take the national title, with the last two going in the Raiders' favor 31-29, 31-29.
Raiders head coach Jane Peterson, who earned coach of the year honors at the state, region and national levels this year, said she had been anticipating the finals matchup between the state's top two teams.
"It (the rivalry) has been intensified because I think the last couple of years we clearly have been the two best teams in the state," Peterson said. "This year especially, we were dominating in the North and they were dominating in the South. It was this thing that everyone was anticipating, that in the end we would meet up."
The national title win was made sweeter by the opponent the Raiders defeated. It was especially rewarding for Peterson whose teams had finished third at the past four national tournaments.
"'At least we're not going to be third place.' I think that was mentioned after that game," Peterson said. "And, then immediately we focused our attention on Ridgewater and it didn't take much extra motivating from me for the team to be ready."
With the title win, the Raiders finished the season 34-7. Peterson now has an overall record of 425-165 (.720) in her 17 seasons at CLC.
Peterson said this year's team didn't live up to the potential she believed it had until the season's final weekend.
"All year I'm thinking, 'We should be better than this.' And, then, all of a sudden, it just clicked. I don't know how it happened, and right now I really don't care how it happened. I'm just glad it did," she said. "The goal is to be playing the best volleyball at the end and there is no doubt we were playing our best volleyball at the end. That last match was our best of the year."
TY RUSHMEYER, sports writer, may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5865.
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