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Ridgewater College in Willmar, Minn., win 7th straight region volleyball title

The Lady Warriors celebrate match point and a return trip to the national tournament at the college gym in Willmar.

WILLMAR, Minn. The Ridgewater College women's volleyball team (28-3) will play in the NJCAA DIII National Tournament a seventh straight year.

The 2006 and 2010 national champions claimed the Region 13A title on Saturday afternoon on their home court. The Lady Warriors outhit the Rochester Yellowjackets 25-12, 23-25, 25-9 and 25-18.

The No. rated Lady Warriors play for the national title Nov. 11-12 at Rochester, Minn.

Ridgewater's All-American setter Molly Hurle said the team was eager to play their South Division arch rival after an uninspired sweep of Western Wisconsin Tech in the semifinals.

"We played with a lot of energy today and that's what pulled us through," said Hurrle. "It's so exciting to go back to nationals."

Hurrle made 43 assists. Hannah Smith pounded down 18 kills, Cassie Ziemer 12 and Kelsey Stommes 10. Emma Sharpe and Aimee Johnson paced the defense.

Kathryn Kuecker led the Rochester offense with 12 kills. Kelly Barnes made 24 digs in the Yellowjacket backcourt.

Named All-Tournament were Sharpe and Ziemer, Kuecker, Barnes and Shannon Gruber of St. Cloud Technical College.

Northland College of Thief River Falls won the 13B Tournament to advance to also advance to nationals.

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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