Ridgewater to play for national title
ROCHESTER -- The Lady Warriors are back where they feel they belong. After missing out on the NCJAA Division III championship match last season, the Ridgewater volleyball team advanced to the final for the fourth time in the last five years with ...
ROCHESTER -- The Lady Warriors are back where they feel they belong.
After missing out on the NCJAA Division III championship match last season, the Ridgewater volleyball team advanced to the final for the fourth time in the last five years with two victories in the national tournament Friday.
Ridgewater (33-4), the No. 2 seed, will face No. 1 Brookhaven (Texas) for the title at 2:30 p.m. today in Rochester.
"For a change, we get to be the underdogs and that's the way we are going to approach it," said Ridgewater coach Joe Sussenguth, whose team had been ranked No. 1 in the nation during the regular season.
Though the Lady Warriors swept past Montgomery (Md.) 25-14, 25-18, 25-13 in the first round, Sussenguth said the team looked out of sync.
"We struggled with serve receive and our serving," he said.
But Ridgewater had a balanced attack with Emily Roelike leading with seven kills. Macy McKay and Karli Wendlandt added six each and Hannah Smith had five. Setter Molly Hurrle had 30 assists and her coach said she did a great job running the offense.
"Molly does a really good job of distributing the volleyball to keep everyone in the match," he noted.
Rock Valley (Ill.) gave Ridgewater a rude shock to start their semifinal match, winning the first game 25-14.
"We let Rock Valley dictate the tempo of the match," Sussenguth said. "We were out of system quite a bit."
But the Lady Warriors rebounded, winning the second game 25-16. The last two games were decided by two points each, with Ridgewater advancing to the championship, 25-23, 26-24.
The Lady Warriors made a 5-1 run in the fourth game for the victory.
"We battled back in every single set against Rock Valley," Sussenguth said. "We were down 23-21 in the fourth set and were fortunate to be able to win that one."
Five players accounted for Ridgewater's offensive power. Roelike claimed 13 kills, McKay followed with 12, Smith 11, Maggie Zirk had five and Brianna Jacobson three. Hurrle had 38 assists. Aimee Johnson recorded 11 digs and McKay had 10.
For Ridgewater to win its first national championship since 2006, Sussenguth said his team will need to more aggressive.
"We have to establish who we are and not what our opponents want us to be," he said.
Ridgewater 3, Montgomery 0
Montgomery 14 18 13
Ridgewater (32-4) 25 25 25
Statistics not reported
Serving: Macy McKay 7-7-0, Abby Halter 4-5-0, Aimee Johnson 10-10-0, Molly Hurrle 15-16-3, Brandi Bodin 13-14-1, Karli Wendlandt 2-2-0, Hannah Smith 2-6-0, Brianna Jacobson 6-7-0 ... Setting (assists): Hurrle 30, Johnson 1, Maggie Zirk 1 ... Hitting: McKay 12-14-6, Halter 1-1-1, Johnson 4-4-3, Emily Roelike 17-21-7, Wendlandt 10-13-6, Smith 14-15-5, Brittany VanDrehle 4-5-2, Miranda Kostboth 1-1-0, Zirk 1-2-0, Jacobson 12-12-3 ... Blocking (total): McKay 3, Hurrle 1, Zirk 3, Jacobson 1 ... Digs: Chelsey Gniffke 1, McKay 10, Halter 1, Johnson 11, Hurrle 3, Roelike 6, Bodin 5, Wendlandt 2, Smith 6, Zirk 1, Jacobson 1
Ridgewater 3, Rock Valley 1
Rock Valley (34-13) 25 16 23 24
Ridgewater (33-4) 14 25 25 26
Statistics not reported
Serving: Macy McKay 10-11-1, Aimee Johnson 15-18-0, Molly Hurrle 11-12-0, Emily Roelike 7-8-1, Brandi Bodin 12-14-0, Hannah Smith 11-12-0 ... Setting: Hurrle 38, Zirk 1 ... Hitting: McKay 26-29-12, Hurrle 1-1-0, Roelike 31-35-13, Smith 39-47-11, Zirk 11-14-5, Jacobson 11-12-3 ... Blocking (total): McKay 3, Hurrle 1, Zirk 3, Jacobson 1 ... Digs: McKay 10, Abby Halter 1, Johnson 11, Hurrle 3, Roelike 6, Bodin 5, Smith 6, Zirk 1, Jacobson 1