Lakeland wins a thriller to clinch second straight NCAA bid
Athletics - posted on 11/7/2009
RIVER FOREST, Ill. - Down two sets on the road, the Lakeland women's volleyball team could have packed it in.
However, the the second-seeded Muskies, led by a determined group of seniors and a bundle of championship experience, played their way to a thrilling 25-27, 24-26, 25-19, 25-14, 15-10 victory at No. 1 Dominican in Saturday's Northern Athletics Conference Tournament championship match.
"We've had such an up-and-down season, so we were prepared for a moment like this," Lakeland coach Chad Schreiber said. "Tonight we had eight people playing well at the same time."
With the win, Lakeland (23-12) captured its third consecutive NAC Tournament title and punched a ticket to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the second straight year.
The Muskies made two separate six-point runs to take an early lead in the third set, holding on to extend the match.
In the fourth set, Lakeland scored seven straight points riding the serve of senior middle hitter Kim Linger, who finished the match with 14 kills.
"I think we all just looked at each other and said, 'this is it, this is the only time we can turn it around,'" Linger said. "I know we had four seniors on the floor, and we knew we needed to communicate and turn it around."
Fittingly, the Muskies won the last five points of the fifth set, and the celebration was on.
Both Schreiber and senior outside hitter Brittanie Paulus pointed to serving as a key to the comeback.
"Serving can make us or break us," said Paulus, who finished with 12 kills and 24 digs. "It means a lot to the game, and it meant a lot to the turnaround in tonight's match."
Aided by an electric home crowd, Dominican (21-13) won the first two sets, which were each as tightly contested as the scores indicate.
Senior libero Tonia Strebelinski recorded a team-high 26 digs, while junior setter Kristine Raeder posted 56 assists.
The Muskies will learn their tournament seed and regional on Monday at 10 a.m. in a webcast selection show on NCAA.com
Last season, the eighth-seeded Muskies were swept by No. 1 seed and regional host UW-Oshkosh in the first round of the tournament.
Share This Story Help
Lakeland offers links to several popular social bookmarking services. These links help you share stories with other people or create bookmarks for future reference. The services are free, but they require a personal account. Click for more information on social bookmarking
<< Return to News