Carthage Sweeps Edgewood in NCAA Regional Quarterfinal Match

Elmhurst 3, Cornell 2
Carthage 3, Edgewood 0

The Carthage College women's volleyball team (31-6, 7-0 College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin), ranked ninth in the Nov. 8 American Volleyball Coaches Association NCAA Division III poll, opened play in the NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship on Friday, Nov. 11 with a 3-0 sweep of Edgewood College (21-14) in a regional-quarterfinal match at the Washington University Field House in St. Louis, Mo.  Carthage's winning set scores over Edgewood were 25-13, 25-12 and 25-16.  “It feels great to get the first match out of the way,” said Carthage coach Leanne Ulmer.  “You can't get to the second one without winning the first one.”
Also on Carthage's side of the regional bracket, CCIW-member and No. 16 Elmhurst College (31-5) outlasted Cornell College (28-6), 3-2, in Friday's opening match.  The Bluejays' winning set scores over the Rams were 25-17, 20-25, 18-25, 25-21 and 15-10.   Carthage will take on Elmhurst in the Saturday, Nov. 12 semifinals, beginning at 4:30 p.m. 

This will be the fourth meeting this year between the Lady Reds and the Bluejays.  Carthage won a regular-season CCIW match at Elmhurst, 3-1, on Sept. 27; lost a 3-2 contest on Oct. 8 at the Wisconsin-Platteville Tournament; and won a 3-2 match on Nov. 5 at Tarble Arena to win the CCIW Women's Volleyball Tournament.    “It's strange playing Elmhurst again,” admitted Ulmer.  “We just saw them a few days ago.  They're a great team, and we know each other very well.  Not a lot is going to change this time around, and we all know what each other is going to do.  It's just a matter of who executes the best.  It should be a great match.”
In the other quarterfinal matches, No. 21 Wisconsin-Whitewater (26-7) takes on No. 15 the University of Chicago (29-5) at 5:30 p.m., and No. 2 Washington (Mo., 32-1) plays Webster University (19-12) at 8 p.m.  Saturday's second semifinal contest gets underway at 7 p.m., with the regional-championship match starting at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 13.
In the win over Edgewood, Carthage broke an 8-8 tie in the first set with six unanswered points to take a 14-8 lead.  After the Eagles pulled to within four, 17-13, the Lady Reds ran off the next eight-straight points for a 25-13 victory.  In the second set, Carthage led by three, 12-9, before scoring 11-straight points to take a 23-9 lead, en route to 25-12 decision.  The Lady Reds broke open the third-and-final set at the 6-5 mark, running off seven-straight points to go up by eight, 13-5.  Carthage went on to win the final set by nine, 25-16.  Lauren Dembkowski (Sr., Mount Prospect, Ill./Arlington Heights-Hersey) led the Lady Reds with 11 kills and a .235 attack percentage.  Jordan Burkholder (Sr., Rockford, Ill./Christian Life) had six kills and hit .333 with four block assists, while Michelle Madeja (Sr., Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) added six kills and four service aces.  Setter Drewann Pancratz (Sr., Schaumburg, Ill.) 8.33 assists per set.  Jessica Martin topped the Eagles with 11 kills.
“We served very tough and aced them a few times,” pointed out Ulmer.  “Edgewood was struggling a little with their passing, and we played very well.  That combination certainly helped us put together a few streaks of points.  Edgewood is a pretty good team, so it's tough to get runs against them.  Edgewood doesn't see offensive players like ours or servers like ours on a regular basis, but they're a fine team.  This was their first trip to the NCAAs, so it was a big deal for them.  It's a big deal for us, too, but we did what we needed to do.”
This is Carthage's eighth NCAA appearances and seventh in a row.  The Lady Reds qualified for the regional championship in 1990 and again from 2005 to 2010.  After bowing out in the quarterfinals in both 2005 and 2006, the 2007, 2008 and 2009 squads reached the regional-championship match.  The 2007 team lost to Washington University (Mo.), 3-1, at the Carthage Physical Education Center.  The 2008 team fell to Wisconsin-Oshkosh, 3-2, at the Kolf Sports Center in Oshkosh, Wis., and the 2009 squad lost to Washington University (Mo.), 3-0, in St. Louis, Mo.  The 2010 squad lost in the regional semifinals at Tarble Arena in Kenosha, Wis.