Catch This - Lakeland Sports Success Rewarded with NCAA Tournament Berths
Athletics - posted on 11/7/2005
The Lakeland Muskies had a successful fall season and they are now being rewarded with NCAA Division III Tournament bids. The women's soccer program will travel to Grinnell, Iowa, for an NCAA Tournament match on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 1 p.m. The women's volleyball team is traveling to the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Regional where they will face UW-Eau Claire on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 3:30 p.m.
The women's soccer team advanced to the NCAA Tournament with the Lake Michigan Conference's automatic bid by defeating Dominican 2-0 in the LMC Tournament Championship on Saturday, Nov. 5.
Women's volleyball will be making its fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance after winning its fourth straight LMC Tournament Title by defeating Maranatha 3-1 on Saturday, Nov. 5.
Here is a closer look at the two opponents for the Lakeland squads:
Women's soccer vs. Grinnell
Grinnell finished tied for first in the Midwest Conference with Carroll College at 8-1-1, and also earned their conference's automatic playoff berth after beating Carroll 5-3 in a shootout for the Midwest Conference Tournament Championship.
Pioneers' head coach Heather Benning is in her eighth season, and Grinnell has made two previous NCAA Tournament appearances during her tenure (1999 and 2004). The Pioneers are 73-33-7 overall under Benning, including a 49-10-4 mark in conference play.
Grinnell lists eight upperclassmen on a roster of 22 players. The Pioneers have been led by freshman forward Katherine Ni, who has tallied 13 of the team's 64 goals, including five game winners. Defensively, Grinnell is led by junior goalkeeper Liz Carrier, who has only given up 10 goals this season and carries a 0.56 goals against average into the NCAA Tournament.
The Pioneers and the Muskies did not meet during the regular season, but both programs have played two common foes - St. Norbert and Ripon College. The Muskies defeated St. Norbert 1-0 on Sept. 15, and beat Ripon 4-0 on Oct. 25. The Pioneers defeated St. Norbert 5-0 on Oct. 2, and beat Ripon College 7-0 on Oct. 23.
"They are pretty strong and can score some goals," said Colwell. "Our strength is our defense and we play as a team and that's the big thing. We are going to be a tough team to beat. Once it comes tournament time, I think it's defense that wins you games, and I'd put our defense up against anyone right now. We just have to find a way to score a goal. Those first 15 minutes are key, and we need to be able to set the tempo."
Fans wishing to attend the women's soccer match at Grinnell may purchase tickets at the gate. Prices are $6 for general admission, $3 students and seniors and children ages 3-12 are $2.
Women's Volleyball vs. UW-Eau Claire
The UW-Eau Claire Blugolds (28-4) are ranked third in the Midwest Region and 13th nationally according to the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Poll. The Blugolds made it to the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Tournament final before losing to UW-Platteville 3-0 and were selected as an at-large bid. Eau Claire finished third to co-WIAC regular season champions Oshkosh and Whitewater.
Eau Claire head coach Lisa Herb is fourth among all NCAA Division III active coaches in wins (729) and 13th in winning percentage (.717). Her teams have posted winning seasons in 19 of the last 20 years, won 20 or more matches 11 times, 30 or more matches five times, 40 or more matches one time and won a school-record 52 matches in 1987.
The Blugolds are a fairly young team as they only list seven upperclassmen on a roster of 18. Offensively, Eau Claire boasts three girls with over 300 kills, led by senior Molly Menard with 455 and senior Jenny Wolter who is only three shy of 400. Defensively, the Blugolds have five athletes with over 200 digs with senior Shanna Berger registering 476, while junior Jessica Groh has 137 blocks.
Eau Claire and Lakeland did not meet during the regular season, but they have five common opponents, three of them joining them in this regional - host Oshkosh, UW-Platteville and UW-Whitewater. NCAA qualifier Millikin and UW-La Crosse were the other two.
The Muskies are 0-6 against those five common opponents, while the Blugolds are 4-3. The Muskies faced Oshkosh twice losing both matches 3-0, while Eau Claire is 1-1 against Oshkosh. Both schools also faced Platteville, with the Muskies dropping their match 3-0 and Eau Claire defeating Platteville 3-1 in the regular season before losing to Platteville in the WIAC Tournament finals 3-0.
Fans wishing to travel to UW-Oshkosh for the 3:30 p.m., volleyball match can purchase tickets at the doors. Prices are $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and $3 for students.
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