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Ridgewater finishes second in nationals

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ROCHESTER - Back on Aug. 26 after the first match of the year, Val Swanson told the Central Lakes' volleyball coach "Let's hope we meet in the last match of the year, too."

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It nearly worked out that way.

Ridgewater College tripped No. 1-rated Central Lakes 3-1 in the NJCAA Division III semifinals before losing 30-25, 30-28, 28-30, 30-25 to defending national champion Brookhaven College of Dallas, Texas.

Ridgewater was shooting for its second national title (the other was in 2002). The Lady Warriors were also the national tournament runners-up in 1998.

Ridgewater had lost three squeakers to Central Lakes, Brainerd, before rising up on Saturday morning to hand the Raiders only their second loss of the season.

"The kids knew they were close each time," said Swanson. "The pressure was on Central Lakes and they were a little nervous I think."

Ridgewater had beaten Brookhaven in September in a tournament in Texas. This time, the Texas college beat the Lady Warriors 3-1 on consecutive days in Rochester.

"They're passed so well and just didn't make many mistakes," said Swanson of Brookhaven."

Named to the 12-member all-tournament team from Ridgewater were Kristen Raitz, Kassi Maurice, Katie Johnson and Terra Billiet.

Melina Figueroa of Brookhaven was chosen the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

Championship

Brookhaven 3, Ridgewater 1

Kristen Raitz battled for 17 kills for Ridgewater, while Katie Johnson had 10 kills, Ashley Olson eight and JoEllyn Johnson six.

Katie Johnson also had five ace blocks. Defensively, Brittany Haas and Olson each came up with 14 digs.

Ridgewater (33-10)........25 28 30 25

Brookhaven (27-13)........30 30 28 30

Ridgewater

Serving: Kassi Maurice 23-24-0, Katie Johnson 10-13-0, Kristen Raitz 13-15-1, Ashley Olson 16-17-0, Sarah Primus 20-20-1, Melissa Sterkel 1-2-1, Tracy Rettmann 5-5-0, Laura Suter 9-11-0.... Setting: Maurice 62-64-24, Suter 61-66-14. Hitting: Katie Johnson 20-25-10, Raitz 41-46-17, Olson 24-25-8, Primus 13-13-3, Terra Billiet 12-12-5, Suter 1-1-1, JoEllen Johnson 15-18-6, Cassy Boonstra 1-1-0, Kayla Powers 9-10-4 .... Blocking (aces): K. Johnson 5, Raitz 1, Olson 2, Primus 4, Billiet 3, J. Johnson 1... Digs: Maurice 5, K. Johnson 4, Raitz 11, Olson 14, Primus 5, Suter 8, Amy Ballard 1, J. Johnson 2, Boonstra 6, Brittany Haas 14

Brookhaven

No statistics available

Semifinals

Ridgewater 3, Central Lakes 1

Twenty ace serves propelled the victory over their MCCC rival.

Katie Johnson dished out seven aces, Laura Suter six and Kassi Maurice five. Even with the brisk serves, only 9 of 99 missed.

Kill leaders were Raitz with 18, Billiet and Olson with six each and Kayla Powers with four. Raitz made 15 digs, Haas 13 and Maurice 12. Katie Johnson had three ace blocks.

Ridgewater (33-9)........19 30 30 30

Central Lakes (33-2).....30 17 25 26

Ridgewater

Serving: Kassi Maurice 25-26-5, Katie Johnson 17-19-7, Kristen Raitz 19-22-1, Ashley Olson 9-10-0, Sarah Primus 11-11-0, Laura Suter 16-18-6, Tracy Rettmann 2-2-1.... Setting: Maurice 63-6-3-26, Suter 29-29-6.... Hitting: K. Johnson 9-9-2, Raitz 42-45-18, Olson 19-22-6, Primus 13-14-3, Terra Billiet 19-23-6, Amy Ballard 1-2-0, JoEllen Johnson 2-3-1, Brittany Haas 1-1-1, Kayla Powers 6-7-4 .... Blocking (aces): K. Johnson 3, Raitz 2, Billiet 1, Maurice 1 ... Digs: Maurice 12, Raitz 15, Olson 9, Primus 2, Billiet 2, Suter 2, J. Johnson 1, Cassy Boonstra 3, Haas 13

Central Lakes

Statistics not available

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