Muskies clinch NAC title outright on Senior Night
Athletics - posted on 10/24/2008
SHEBOYGAN - The Lakeland women's volleyball team clinched the Northern Athletics Conference regular season championship outright with a 3-0 victory over MSOE on Friday night at Moose & Dona Woltzen Gymnasium.
Friday's match also marked Senior Night, the last regular season home contest for seniors Yarixa Cruz (Spring Hill, Fla.), Amanda Ditter (Chilton), Heidi Kramer (Green Bay) and Jessica Sparling (Addison, Ill.).
Appropriately, Cruz served out the final set, a 25-13 win, with Kramer and Sparling also on the floor. Ditter remains out of competition due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her knee.
The Muskies (19-8, 11-0 NAC) won 15 of the last 18 points in the third en route to the victory.
"In the third set, a 10-4 lead turned into 10-10," Lakeland head coach Chad Schreiber said. "Our team didn't break down, but we made a couple substitutions and picked right back up where we left off."
Lakeland defeated the Raiders (14-14, 5-5) 25-19 in the first set and 25-11 in the second set.
"We lost the second set [against Wisconsin Lutheran] on Tuesday after winning the first set 25-7, so we talked about that and said the same thing could happen tonight," Schreiber said. "Our team was determined to make sure we did not repeat Tuesday night's performance of dropping the second set."
Junior middle hitter Kim Linger (Eldorado) led the Muskie offensive attack, posting 16 kills in just 21 attacks with no errors, good for a .762 hitting percentage. That is the second-highest hitting percentage with at least 15 attempts in a match in Lakeland history.
Sparling tallied 30 assists for the Muskies.
Schreiber spoke about each of the seniors prior to the match. This season's senior class amassed three conference championships, an NCAA Tournament appearance and an 82-6 overall record, including a 43-6 league mark. See the bottom of this release for his comments on each player.
The Muskies close the 2008 regular season tomorrow in a 7 p.m. NAC showdown with Rockford. With a win, Lakeland will finish undefeated in conference play for the second straight year.
Chad Schreiber's Senior Night remarks:
On Yarixa Cruz:
"Yarixa Cruz has the distinction of having the farthest commute to Lakeland out of any player in recent history. A Puerto Rican native going to school in Florida, she transferred to Lakeland as a sophomore. Her steady climb to the varsity level this year is due to a great attitude, relentless effort, and remarkable dedication. Yarixa embodies what all of her teammates aspire to be as a role model in achievement. It was her 'Cruz Control' serve for an ace a few weeks ago that sparked a winning streak."
On Amanda Ditter:
"Amanda Ditter's season came to an end prematurely when she tore her ACL a few weeks ago.
It did not come to an end before Amanda found success as a starter…just sooner than she had time to enjoy it.
'Smart Ditter' finally found a way to find the smart shot this year and was beginning to create a highlight reel prior to the injury.
Amanda has the desire to become a coach someday and the obstacles she has overcome have her well prepared to be a good one."
On Heidi Kramer:
"Heidi Kramer has literally been a part of the line-up from the moment she arrived.
She started the first match of her college career and was named the conference player of the week for her performance.
After a move to the right side produced immediate results, Heidi desired to get more out of her game.
She has done that this year both offensively and defensively as she has been a rock in the starting line-up performing at an all-conference rate.
Competition drives her and 'pumping up' those around her fuels her.
She has been a model for success both on and off the court."
On Jessica Sparling:
"Jessica Sparling did not take long to become a fixture at setter for this team.
After starting many important matches as a freshman, the position was hers as a sophomore.
Jess has all the tools coaches love to have in a setter…the ability to go and get the tight passes, attack and block.
These tools have made her an all-conference performer and Lakeland's Female Athlete of the Year last year.
She also has the desire to be a coach someday and I'm certain she has learned how to yell at a setter."
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