Madison, Ridgewater so clash in finals

Madison was billed as the top team entering the NJCAA Division III National Volleyball Tournament.

The Wolpack did nothing to dispel that notion on Friday during the quarterfinals and semifinals at Rochester Community and Technical College.

No. 1 ranked and seeded Madison turned in a pair of crushing wins, slamming to sweeps in each. The Wolfpack now face Ridgewater (Willmar) in today's 2:30 p.m. finals.

"We are comfortable now and settled in," said Madison coach Toby Parker, whose team beat Fashion Institute of Technology 25-14, 25-15, 25-14 in the quarterfinals, then downed SUNY Adirondack (N.Y.) 25-10, 25-20, 25-13 in the semifinals.

"We have a long and athletic team. We have a lot of girls who can be very disruptive at the net."


Ridgewater pulled off a bit of a surprise in downing Central Lakes (Brainerd) 23-25, 26-24, 23-25, 25-22, 15-10 in its semifinal match. Ridgewater is the No. 3 seed, while Central Lakes is No. 2. Not only that, but Central Lakes had beaten Ridgewater twice during the regular season.

It had a great opportunity to do it again. Instead, Central Lakes coughed up two late leads in Games 2 and 4, as it couldn't hang on.

"Our kids can be in the deepest, darkest holes, and still find a way to win," said Ridgewater coach Joe Sussenguth, whose team takes a 22-9 record against Madison's 33-3 mark.

Ridgewater got a big game from freshman outside hitter Tegan VanMoer, as she notched 18 kills, many of them of the timely variety.

Central Lakes led by four points late in Game 2 of the semifinal, and by five late in Game 4. A win in either, it turned out, would have done it for the Raiders. Instead, Ridgewater denied them in both.

"You've got to hand it to Ridgewater," Central Lakes coach Jane Peterson said. "They were better than us. They had better athletes and were better passers tonight. Last time we played them our serves really bothered Ridgewater. But tonight they weren't enough."

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