Carthage Outlasts Springfield to Advance to NCAA Division III Volleyball Semifinal
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St. Louis, Mo., November 18, 2011 – Springfield College pushed Carthage College to five sets, but Carthage hit an impressive .435 in the fifth set to earn a 24-26, 25-18, 25-21, 19-25, 15-6 win over Springfield in the 2011 NCAA Division III Quarterfinal Friday afternoon at the WU Field House.
Carthage improved to 34-6 with the win, and will make its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Semifinal. Springfield ended its season with a 34-3 overall record. Carthage will face Christopher Newport University at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in the NCAA Semifinal round.
The two teams played back-and-forth to begin the match before Carthage opened up a 20-16 lead on a service ace by senior outside hitter Michelle Madeja. Springfield battled back to tie the score at 24-24 after a kill by freshman setter Molly Giannattasio. A pair of attacking errors by Carthage gave Springfield the 26-24 win in the first set.
In the second set, Springfield took advantage of eight errors by the Lady Reds to jump out to a 10-2 lead. Carthage rallied with a 16-5 run to take an 18-15 lead. The Lady Reds continued the run to win set two 25-18 and tie the match at 1-1. Carthage hit .070 (14-11-43) in the second set, while Springfield was held to -067 hitting (3-5-30).
Carthage grabbed the early lead in the third set, opening up a 14-9 margin on a kill by senior middle blocker Cindy Cavanagh. Springfield closed to within three, but was unable to overcome the deficit as a Madeja kill gave Carthage the 25-21 win.
Springfield led from start to finish in the fourth set, opening up an 11-6 lead early after four-straight kills by senior middle blocker Lauren Torvi. Carthage cut the lead to one several times, but Springfield pulled away for the 25-19 win behind seven kills by sophomore outside hitter Tessa Smolinski. The Pride hit a scorching .514 (18-0-35), while Carthage hit .295 (18-5-44 in the fourth set.
The fifth set was all Carthage, as the Lady Reds built a 10-3 lead before earning the 15-6 win. Carthage hit .435 (11-1-23) in the set, while holding Springfield to .000 (2-2-19) hitting. Cavanagh took over for Carthage, smashing seven kills in the final set.
Springfield hit .219 (52-15-169) in the match, while Carthage was right behind with .216 hitting (74-31-199). Springfield had nine blocks in the match, compared with five for Carthage.
Madeja led Carthage with 20 kills, 17 digs and three service aces. Cavanagh added 19 kills, while senior outside hitter Lauren Dembkowski tallied 14 kills and a team-high 23 digs. Senior setter Drewann Pancratz finished with 48 assists and 16 digs, and junior libero Izzy Shaindlin recorded 21 digs in the match.
Springfield was led by Torvi, who had a match-high 22 kills and five blocks. Smolinski added 18 kills and 11 digs. Freshman setter Whitney Miller tallied 29 assists, and Giannattasio added 15. Senior libero Itza Nieves had a match-high 33 digs, while senior defensive specialist Meaghan Hart finished with 16.