DIII Women's Volleyball

A source for NCAA Division III women's volleyball info and opinion, with a focus on the Midwest and Central regions

Archive for November 2007

National Semis

I didn’t see this one coming: Whitewater swept Juniata tonight. All three games were tight (28, 28, 25), but don’t blame the loss on Juniata’s star hitters.  JC’s National Player of the Year, Amber Thomas, had 22 kills and one error in 51 attempts. JC All-American Erin Albert had 13-4-26. The other JC players combined for 20 kills and 19 errors on 85 attempts for an .012 percentage. Three JC players hit negative.

The Juniata block was nonexistent. Three blocks isn’t getting it done against Whitewater, which had 10 blocks. And to make the JC block extra futile, it had two blocking errors to help cancel out the three blocks it did get.

Whitewater was just steady and didn’t make as many mistakes. Abby Schultz led WW with 13 kills. Carley Polk and Sarah Theis, who really stepped up, had 12 apiece. Polk added seven blocks to her stat line. And to prove that WW played a fairly clean match, Kate Lazotte only had two ballhandling errors. That’s pretty good for her, going off of the five or so matches I’ve seen her play this season.

WW outhit JC .290 to .191. WW has now won 17 straight matches.

Wash U beat Wittenberg, 3-1, in the other semifinal. After top-ranked and undefeated Wittenberg outscored Wash U 18-8 to close out a Game 1 win, 30-25, I thought I knew what was going to happen. I didn’t.

Wash U rolled in Game 2 and won a tight Game 3 before sewing up the match with a 30-15 laugher in Game 4.

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Written by Ricky Nelson

November 17, 2007 at 12:22 am

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National Quarters

The first round in Bloomington didn’t have offer any surprises. Only one match went four games. The others were sweeps. Tomorrow should be better, with the riff-raff now out of the tournament.

Wittenberg def. Stevens, 3-0, behind a .299 team hitting percentage. Jan Kehres led Wittenberg with 14 kills. Stevens hit .076 for the match.

Wash U def. Emory, 3-1. Four Wash U players reached double figures in kills. Nikki Morrison led Wash U with 14 kills. Four Emory players also reached double figures in kills, but the Eagles hit were narrowly outhit and Wash U had 15 blocks to Emory’s six. Emory’s Janet Bunning had a match-high 17 kills and teammate Maggie Ramm had a match-high 31 digs.

Juniata ripped Amherst, 3-0. The first game, a 30-8 Juniata win, set the tone. The last two games were more competitive, but not really all that close. AVCA national player of the year Amber Thomas led Juniata with a match-high 18 kills on 37 attempts. Erin Albert added another 15 kills on 25 attempts. Juniata had a crazy 61 team kills in the three games, highlighted by a whopping 26 kills in the second game. Amherst managed just 30 kills and hit .071 as a team.

Whitewater def. Puget Sound, 3-0, despite the Warhawks not playing that well. Kelly Sorenson led WW with 10 kills. Puget Sound just wasn’t very good. They had one player who could hit. The rest of the team? Not so much. When that one hitter only has 10 kills and 19 attempts, you’re not going to beat Whitewater.

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Written by Ricky Nelson

November 16, 2007 at 5:28 am

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The Luxuryless Beach-Aire Motel

My home sweet home in Kenosha for a few days. The soft spot in my heart for the volleyball team led me here. Just wanted to prove that I wasn’t just being a baby when I wrote that it could be the worst place on earth to stay. Here are a few of my favorite photos. There’s more where these came from. And stories? I got ’em in spades. Like me asking how much the room will cost. “Either $55 or $50.” “What’s the difference between a $55 room and a $50 room?” [Blank stare for 20 seconds] “I guess I’ll take the $50 room, then.”

And my phone never got a dial tone, even after I talked to the fine gentleman [who was baked out of his mind, by the way] in the office either five or 27 times about me needing to use the phone. “I don’t know what to tell you, sir. But I’ll get right on that, sir. I rebooted the system once already, sir. Still no dial tone then, huh, sir? That’s just weird, sir. I’ll get back on it, sir. Right away, sir.” I had that same conversation with the stoner, who was wearing a gorgeous “Taz” cartoon shirt that was at least one size too small, at least seven times. I’m really not sure if he knew he was dealing with the same person every time. I’d be very surprised if he could see out of his teary, bloodshot eyes.

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Written by Ricky Nelson

November 13, 2007 at 11:57 pm

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Leah First-Team All-American, Kim and Sam Honorable Mentions

Senior middle blocker Leah Rosenbaum was named to the AVCA 2007 All-American First Team. Leah was also named to the first team in 2006 and the third team in 2005.

Leah becomes just the third Titan to be named a three-time All-American, joining setters Christina Southward (1999-2001) and Amy Ward (1994-96).

Senior right-side Kim Vail and junior libero Samantha Schmidt were named to the AVCA 2007 Honorable Mention Team.

Last season, Vail was also named an honorable mention All-American and All-Midwest Region First Team.

The All-America nod is the first for Sam, who was the AVCA 2005 Midwest Region Freshman of the Year and a 2006 All-Midwest Region Honorable Mention selection.

Leah and Kim finished their Oshkosh careers with a 122-28 lifetime record, including at least 32 wins in each of the last three seasons.

For more stats and rankings on these three, see the All-Region post from a few days ago.

-Ricky Nelson

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 13, 2007 at 10:37 pm

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Regional Finals

I got a chance to listen to the Carthage/Wash U, Whitewater/St. Thomas and La Verne/Puget Sound matches.

The Central and Midwest finals went the way I thought they would, although Whitewater had to come back from a 9-0 hole to win Game 3 over the Tommies. The Warhawks were down 10-0 to start Game 4 and couldn’t quite get over the hump. WW was down 4-1 in Game 5 and tied it at 13. WW scored the last two points to win. Schultz led WW with 23 kills.

Wash U made it sound easy over Carthage. The Bears took the crowd out of it at the end of Game 2, a 30-27 Wash U win, and never looked back, winning in 4. Five Bears reached double digits in kills. Carlino had a rough one for CC. She put down nine kills in a team-leading 41 attempts. CC hit a combined .087 in games three and four.

Juniata got back to business after a semifinal scare in which they were pushed to five games by Christopher Newport. In the final, Amber Thomas had 22 kills and Haverford hit -.027 for the match with just 19 kills in three games.

Stevens won the final of its joke regional in three over Nazareth.

Wittenberg didn’t lose a game in winning its regional. Wittenberg swept Ohio Northern in the final. Wittenberg’s Emily Bell was the only Tiger in double figures with 17 kills in the final.

Emory finished off top-seeded Trinity in four in the South final. Emory had 80 kills in the four games. Alysse Meyer led the way with 20 kills. EU had 21 kills on 32 attempts in Game 3.

Amherst defeated host MIT in four. Amherst’s Jaclyn DeMais had 27 kills on a ridiculous 70 attempts. She added 25 digs for good measure.

Out west, Puget Sound beat La Verne in five. Throughout the match the announcers kept almost apologizing for the lack of hustle displayed by both teams. But it went five games. That’s usually good entertainment. Sounded like a bummer of a match anyway.

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Written by Ricky Nelson

November 11, 2007 at 4:03 am

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Kim, Leah and Sam All-Region (Updates 11/11/07 @ 3)

Congrats to Kim Vail, Leah Rosenbaum and Samantha Schmidt for being named to the AVCA All-Midwest-Region First Team.

Kim has now made it two years in a row. It’s the third All-Region honor for Leah. It’s a first for Sam, who was the first libero in WIAC history to earn first team all-conference honors and was the only libero or DS named to the All-Midwest team.

It will be interesting to see where they fit on the All-American teams.

Link to AVCA All-Region teams:


Through Nov. 4, Leah’s .415 hitting percentage this season ranked third in the nation. Her 1.23 blocks per game ranked 47th. After regionals, Leah finished the season hitting .405 and had 1.18 blocks per game.

Leah ends her career with 1,726 kills, the fifth most in WIAC history and the third most at Oshkosh. Her .385 career hitting percentage is either third or fourth in WIAC history, depending on another player who also sits at .385. Leah also finished with 145 solo blocks and 373 block assists for 518 total blocks (Thanks, Lumpy) in 483 career games. UPDATE: Leah’s .385 career hitting percentage would rank 20th in NCAA Division III history, according to the 2007 NCAA Volleyball Records Book.

Kim finished 2007 with 3.02 kills and .79 blocks per game and a .312 hitting percentage.

Kim ends her career with 1,171 kills in 438 games for a 2.67 per game average.

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Written by Ricky Nelson

November 11, 2007 at 1:04 am

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Regional Musings, Etc.

Just got back from an interesting sojourn to Kenosha. But the story of my perilous journey – dealing with the rudest host school I hope to ever encounter, lodging at the shadiest motel on earth, dodging cars while walking down Sheridan Road to the Beach Aire Motel, subsisting on only two popcorns and three Snickers in two and a half days, hanging with some sketchy owners of a downtown Kenosha deli while waiting to go home, going Greyhound on the way home, etc. – can wait for another time, if ever. That was something else …

Anyway, this one hurts me to type. To be so close again, like they were against Whitewater a few weeks ago, makes it all the tougher.

First of all, it was a pleasure to follow this team for four years. I went into my journalism major a college volleyball newbie. After watching it up close during these years, I got to see the game played at the highest level by some of the best the country has to offer. I didn’t know that going in, when the UWO women’s volleyball team was my first beat for the school newspaper. But after seeing many of the best and worst teams in the land, it turns out I was lucky to attend a school with such an elite volleyball program, comprised of good people. And in a perfect bookend to my time at UWO, this team will probably also be the last I cover at Oshkosh.

The Platteville match was survive-and-advance. What stuck out most to me was how PV setter Kelly Laschinger is human. After directing an awesome offense for Platteville in the WIAC quarters, she came back to earth and merely set really, really well. Another obvious point is how well Katelyn did on both sides of the net. She entered in a stressful situation and played like she had been starting all season.

The better team did not win the Wash U match. The winner simply made fewer mistakes in the fifth game. No team can win a regional match if it gives away nine points in a game five. Five attack errors, three service errors and a double in the fifth was too much to overcome. Wash U earned just three points (one kill, one block, one ace) after it was tied, 7-7. There was only a 1:61 chance that Oshkosh would not lose again this season. The odds were good that it was going to happen sometime, but after the first four Wash U games, I didn’t think it was going to happen on Friday. Wash U went into the match with an 11-0 lifetime record against UWO. I had never seen those two play before. Maybe Wash U was the better team the other 11 times. They were not on Friday. 

All I can add to this is I wish I had more matches to watch. To not see Rebecca, Leah and Kim play volleyball anymore is the hardest part for me. Thank you to those three for helping to make my four years following and/or covering the team my favorite journalism moments to date. Thanks to the entire team, obviously. But those three made me appreciate how exciting volleyball can be when it’s played at a high level, and they were the faces and names (along with Lumpy and Ashley) when I realized that fact in my freshman year.

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Written by Ricky Nelson

November 10, 2007 at 11:43 pm

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Carthage Regional Team Capsules

No. 1 seed Carthage (31-4, No. 1 in Midwest Region, No. 6 AVCA)
Key wins:  Oshkosh (3-1), Nebraska Wesleyan (3-1), La Crosse (3-2), Whitewater (3-0)
Losses: St. Thomas (1-3), La Crosse (1-3), Juniata (1-3), Juniata (1-3)
All-conference players (CCIW): senior setter/right-side Kelly Bauer (1st, POY), senior middle blocker Jori Simmons (1st), junior outside Sarah Carlino (2nd), freshman right-side Rachel Swoboda (2nd), senior outside Ashley Kuehl (3rd)

Team Leaders
Kills: Kuehl 379, Swoboda 317, Bauer 293
Blocks: Simmons 139, Pedrigi 106, Swoboda 105
Assists: Bauer 845, Flanagan 485, Stein 42
Digs: Lundgren 673, Carlino 348, Bauer 303
Aces: Carlino 58, Bauer 50, Flanagan 38

No. 2 seed Washington (27-5, No. 2 in Central Region, No. 7 AVCA)
Key wins: Ohio Northern (3-0), Central (3-0), Moorhead (3-1), Emory (3-2), Webster (3-0)
Losses: Wittenberg (1-3) Juniata (2-3), La Verne (2-3), Whitewater (1-3), Emory (2-3)
All-conference players (UAA): (TBA Wednesday)

Team Leaders
Kills: Morrison 378, Spencer 312, Alberts 279
Blocks: Alberts 95, Morrison 79, Bruegge 73
Assists: Janak 899, Blood 458, Morrison 21
Digs: Spencer 440, Brazeal 438, Alberts 350
Aces: Spencer 44, Brazeal 31, Schuessler 29

No. 3 seed Oshkosh (31-5, No. 3 in Midwest Region, No. 14 AVCA)
Key wins: Platteville (3-0), Platteville (3-0), Eau Claire (3-0), La Crosse (3-0), Emory (3-0), Stevens (3-1)
Losses: Carthage (1-3), Juniata (0-3), Stevens Point (2-3), Whitewater (2-3), Platteville (1-3)
All-conference players (WIAC): senior middle blocker Leah Rosenbaum (1st), senior right-side Kim Vail (1st), junior libero Samantha Schmidt (1st, All-Defense)

Team Leaders
Kills: Rosenbaum 333, Vail 328, Smith 255
Blocks: Ray 105, Rosenbaum 102, Vail 89
Assists: Stumpf 1282, Vara 262, Cahoon 34
Digs: Schmidt 604, Cahoon 382, Smith 376
Aces: Schmidt 55, Masephol 53, Cahoon 49

No. 4/5 seed La Crosse (24-9, No. 4 Midwest Region, No. 18 AVCA)
Key wins: St. Benedict (3-0), St. Benedict (3-0), Webster (3-0), Webster (3-0), Colorado (3-1), Carthage (3-1), Platteville (3-1), Juniata (3-2), Eau Claire (3-2)
Losses: St. Thomas (2-3), Whitewater (1-3), Whitewater (1-3), Whitewater (0-3), Oshkosh (0-3), Wartburg (2-3), Carthage (2-3), Superior (2-3), Eau Claire (0-3)
All-conference players (WIAC): Senior outside Katelyn Carlson (1st), sophomore outside Brianne Stankus (1st), junior outside Amber Schoonover (HM)

Team Leaders
Kills: Carlson 464, Stankus 408, Schoonover 329
Blocks: Walch 98, O’Connell 70, Carlson 60
Assists: Dries 1484, Stankus 100, Walch 22
Digs: Tate 505, Schoonover 473, Dries 411
Aces: Stankus 41, Schoonover 32, Dries 24

No. 4/5 seed Calvin (29-4, No. 3 Great Lakes Region, No. 15 AVCA)
Key wins: Hanover (3-0), Central (3-1), Heidelberg (3-0)
Losses: Hope (1-3), Wittenberg (0-3), Ohio Northern (0-3), DePauw (1-3)
All-conference players (MIAA): Senior middle hitter Molly Krikke (1st, POY), senior outside Kristen Kalb (1st), senior setter Katie Zondervan (1st), junior libero Lauren DeGroot (2nd)

Team Leaders
Kills: Krikke 549, Kalb 498, Wigboldy 226
Blocks: Krikke 131, Kramer 101, Garlick 89
Assists: Zondervan 1527, Nelson 75, DeGroot 23
Digs: DeGroot 616, Sears 392, Zondervan 361
Aces: Kalb 34, Sears 34, Zondervan 33

No. 6 seed Platteville (24-12, No. 8 Midwest Region, unranked AVCA)
Key wins: Carroll (3-0), Eau Claire (3-0), Eau Claire (3-1), Oshkosh (3-1)
Losses: Nebraska Wesleyan (0-3), Oshkosh (0-3), Oshkosh (0-3), Coe (2-3), Bethel (1-3), Whitewater (1-3), Whitewater (1-3), La Crosse (1-3), Eau Claire (1-3), Superior (1-3), Simpson (1-3), Ill. Wesleyan (1-3),
All-conference players (WIAC): Senior setter Kelly Laschinger (1st), sophomore middle hitter Lisa Bell (HM), junior outside Rachel Chapman (HM)

Team Leaders
Kills: Chapman 475, Bell 429, Hillebrand 296
Blocks: Bell 108, Tronnes 92, Laschinger 63
Assists: Laschinger 1634, Walker 66, Ripp 25
Digs: Ripp 566, Walker 486, Chapman 476
Aces: Walker 44, Deegan 38, Chapman 35

No. 7 seed Hanover (23-10, unranked Great Lakes Region, unranked AVCA)
Key wins: None
Losses: Capital (1-3), Hiram (2-3), Heidelberg (1-3), DePauw (1-3), DePauw (2-3), Spalding (0-3), Anderson (2-3), Thomas More (2-3), Calvin (0-3), Hope (0-3)
All-conference players (HCAC): Senior outside Carley Meek (1st, POY), senior outside Danielle Hazelbaker (1st), senior middle hitter Kristen Blood (2nd)

Team Leaders
Kills: Meek 468, Hazelbaker 348, Blood 248
Blocks: Blood 107, Elmer 96, Semrau 69
Assists: Undem 661, Oilar 355, Saunders 301
Digs: Loechle 480, Meek 450, Hazelbaker 443
Aces: Undem 49, Loechle 47, Hazelbaker 38

No. 8 seed Carroll (20-13, unranked Midwest Region, unranked AVCA)
Key wins: None
Losses: North Central (0-3), North Central (0-3), Concordia, Wis. (0-3), Platteville (0-3), River Falls (0-3), Stevens Point (1-3), Stevens Point (1-3), St. Norbert (0-3), Viterbo (1-3), Viterbo (1-3), Wheaton (0-3), Luther (0-3), Ripon (1-3)
All-conference players (MWC): (TBA)

Team Leaders
Kills: Schertz 312, Ligocki 297, Sronce 290
Blocks: Schertz 110, Sronce 108, Peters 47
Assists: Bohn 1220, Peters 36, Sronce 22
Digs: Penovich 620, Peters 426, Ligocki 382
Aces: Bohn 46, Martin 44, Penovich 36

-Ricky Nelson

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 6, 2007 at 7:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Oshkosh’s NCAA Draw

The NCAA could have been much harsher on Oshkosh. The opener against Platteville is a good thing. I didn’t think the NCAA would put two WIAC teams in an opener, especially a fourth meeting between UWO and PV.

Looks like UWO’s regular-season win at La Crosse saved the Titans from playing Calvin in the first round. Not that I think Calvin is any better than Platteville. It’s just that the unknown factors are taken out of the equation. I would imagine UWO knows PV better than any other team in the nation and vice versa. And to be able to immediately get revenge on Platteville has to factor in as another positive.

Wash U instead of Whitewater could go either way. The unknown comes into play, but if I’m a Titan, I would rather face Wash U than Whitewater. At least in my eyes, that’s another good draw. Not that this matters all that much, but Wash U lost its last match to Emory in 5. UWO swept Emory last month.

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Written by Ricky Nelson

November 5, 2007 at 8:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Wacky NCAA (Updated 11/5/07 @ 2 p.m.)

Some random thoughts on the brackets:

Does anyone out there understand the NCAA? It’s Round 4 of Oshkosh/Platteville in the first round? I wonder if that has ever happened before. My predictions didn’t make that matchup, nor two MIAC teams meeting in the first round, necessary.

Whitewater to the Central and Wash U/Calvin to the Midwest? Wash U was going to have to fly to St. Paul anyway, so I guess the NCAA can get away with that one. Driving Wash U to Kenosha makes sense. It’s a good tradeoff for Oshkosh in many ways. I just didn’t think it would happen. Losing WW is never a bad thing, but Hanover and Calvin in the Midwest? It didn’t have to be like that.

Anyway, Oshkosh has to beat Platteville, Wash U and Carthage to get to nationals. Not the best scenario but one that can be done.

Instead of giving Wittenberg the bye that it earned, the NCAA chose to not spend a few more dollars and fly one more team. The NCAA simply chose to make Wittenberg’s road to Bloomington a bit easier by shipping Calvin.

Full disclosure: Of the 61 teams in my regional predictions, I only had 45 in the right place, although the NCAA made it hard to get much right this year.

-Ricky Nelson

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 5, 2007 at 5:34 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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