The No. 8 Carthage College Lady Reds advanced to the NCAA Central Region championship match with a 3-0 (25-13, 28-26, 25-19) win over No. 22 Nebraska Wesleyan University on Friday, Nov. 13, at the WU Field House in St. Louis, Mo.
“They are a very good team. We played them earlier in the year and lost to them but the Lady Reds came out to play tonight,” Carthage head coach Leanne Ulmer said.”Rachel (Swoboda) came out and went on a tear with her serve, and it was impressive. The girls played great defense and I think our serving got them a little off balance in the beginning.”
Neither team led by more than three points in the second set as Carthage erased a late three-point deficit to grab a 28-26 win. The Prairie Wolvers were ahead 22-19 following an ace from freshman Brittnie Kreikemeier and had a shot at match point thanks to Hannah Behrens’ third kill of the match.
But Carthage survived match point twice and put the frame away with three-straight kills, one from Madeja and two in a row from Cavanagh. Cavanagh led all attackers with five kills, and Barber paced Nebraska Wesleyan with four kills in the second frame. The Prairie Wolves had five team blocks in the second, three of which came from Behrens, one solo and two assists. The second set featured 12 ties and six lead changes.
“We knew it was going to be a battle and it looked like it as going to be knotted up but I credit the girls, they put their serves in and put some pressure on them and that was a big win. It was probably the key to the whole match,” Ulmer said.
Swoboda, Dembkowski and Madeja each tallied four kills for Carthage in the third set as the Lady Reds went on to clinch the match with a 25-19 win. Cavanagh tallied a match-high 12 kills while Madeja chipped in 11 and Dembkowski finished with 10. Elise Schmid led the Nebraska Wesleyan offense with eight kills, also posting four total blocks (two solo, two assists).
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