Wittenberg Advances to NCAA Semifinal with Sweep Against Cal Lutheran
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St. Louis, Mo., November 18, 2011 – Wittenberg University recorded its 31st 3-0 win of the season, earning a 25-17, 25-15, 25-12 win over California Lutheran University in the 2011 NCAA Division III Championship Quarterfinal round Friday night at the WU Field House.
Wittenberg (35-3) had just two hitting errors in the match while hitting .451 to advance to its fourth semifinal appearance in school history and first since 2007 with the win. Cal Lutheran ended its season with an overall record of 29-7. The Tigers are scheduled to face Eastern University in the NCAA Semifinal at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Wittenberg built a 10-6 lead in the first set on a block by senior right-side hitter Christine Simpson and senior middle hitter Katie Sumner. The Tigers maintained their lead and earned the 25-17 win on a solo block by senior middle hitter Miranda Sagle. Wittenberg hit .324 (13-1-37) in the first set, their lowest hitting percentage of the match. Cal Lutheran hit .178 (13-5-45) in the set.
In the second set, the Regals took a 4-3 lead on a service ace by junior middle blocker Shannon Pearson, the only point of the match that Wittenberg trailed. The Tigers quickly regained the lead and stretched it to as much as 24-12 off a kill by Sumner. Cal Lutheran fought off three-straight set points before a kill by senior outside hitter Hannah Riley gave Wittenberg the 25-15 win. The Tigers hit .474 (10-1-19), compared with .103 hitting (11-8-29) by Cal Lutheran in the second set.
The Tigers grabbed an early 5-1 lead in the third set, including a pair of ace serves by freshman setter Meghan Vodopich. Cal Lutheran rallied to cut the lead to 9-7 on a kill by Sagle, but Wittenberg answered with a 9-0 run behind the solid serving of junior libero Christina Gilene. The Regals were unable to get closer than eight points as a solo block by Sagle gave Wittenberg the 25-12 win.
Wittenberg hit .451 (39-2-82) in the match, including an astounding .615 (16-0-26) in the third set. Cal Lutheran hit .168 (34-17-101) in the match, including .222 (10-4-27) in the final set. The Tigers also finished with nine blocks in the match, compared with two for the Regals.
Senior outside hitter Kimmie Dyer led Wittenberg with 10 kills on 18 attempts (.556), while also recording 10 digs. Vodopich and junior setter Hallie Donathan each recorded 16 assists. Vodopich also had a match-high four service aces. Gilene tallied a match-high 19 digs, and Sagle finished with five blocks.
Freshman outside hitter Kylie McLogan was the leading attacker for Cal Lutheran with eight kills. Junior setter Jackie Russell posted 25 assists and eight digs, while senior libero Jacki Richards led the Regals defensively with 12 digs.