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College volleyball: Ridgewater takes out Minn. West

Ridgewater College hitter Alix Katz, right, slams a shot as Minnesota West’s Lindsey Drooger, middle, and Tiffany Gehl, left, attempt to block during a MCAC match on Wednesday at the Ridgewater gym. The Warriors swept the match in three games. Tribune photo by Tom Larson

WILLMAR — A showdown between two of the top NJCAA Division III volleyball teams in the nation could be coming in the next 10 days.

Ridgewater, ranked No. 3 nationally, breezed by Minnesota West 25-13, 25-12, 25-13 on Wednesday to run its MCAC Southern Division record to 12-1. Southern Division rival Rochester, ranked No. 4, entered the day with a 9-1 record.

Rochester still faces road matches in the coming week, including a tough match at Minnesota State-Fergus Falls (7-4 in the league, 15-11 overall) on Saturday.

Should Ridgewater and Rochester tie for the division lead, the teams would play a one-game playoff match at Anoka-Ramsey on Nov. 2 to decide which gets to host the Region 13A tournament.

The Warriors, now 18-8, took care of their business on Wednesday efficiently against Minnesota West.

“I was pleased that we were able to control all aspects of the match with every player we used,” said Warriors head coach Joe Sussenguth. “Playing against a team with a different style than us had the potential to be difficult, but we minimized our errors and kept the pace of play quick.”

Ridgewater controlled the net, hitting .390 as a team. Jen Puncochar hit .588 and finished with 10 kills. Morgan Meyer hit .583 and sent down 7 shots and Tracy Braaten hit .500 and killed 6 shots. She also had two of the Warriors’ blocks.

Setter Tiffani Karbo had 22 assists, served 4 aces and she also registered 4 kills, and Taylor Sharpe had 14 of Ridgewater’s 46 digs.

The Warriors finish the regular season hosting Anoka-Ramsey on Wednesday.

“We’ll need an effort similar to this next Wednesday to stop an Anoka-Ramsey team that is seeking a Region 13A playoff berth,” Sussenguth said.

Notes: As of Tuesday, Karbo leads the Southern Division with 756 set assists. Tegan VanMoer is second with 236 kills and Puncochar is ninth with 184. Braaten is fifth with 43 blocks and Amy Bolin is ninth with 27.

Ridgewater 3, MN West 0

Minnesota West (5-7, 6-10)             13 12 13

Ridgewater (12-1, 18-8)   25 25 25

(Key: good-attempts-aces)


Serving: Taylor Sharpe 2 aces, Tiffani Karbo 4, Hailey Osland 2 … Set assists: Karbo 22, Catie Sherman 8, Morgan Meyer 3, Aleza Kirschenmann 1 … Hitting: Jen Puncochar 17-17-10, Alix Katz 8-8-1, Sharpe 2-2-2, Meyer 12-12-7, Karbo 9-9-4, 7-8-1, Tegan VanMoer 6-8-3, Catie Kluver 3-3-2, Amy Bolin 1-2-1, Tracy Braaten 12-12-6 … Blocking (total): Meyer 1, Karbo 1, Braaten 2 … Digs (5 or more): Sharpe 14, Karbo 7, Mikayla Jacobson 7