ST. LOUIS — In Wittenberg’s 25-17, 25-15, 25-12 victory against California Lutheran in the NCAA Division III volleyball quarterfinals at the Washington University Field House on Friday night, the Tigers were nearly flawless.
Over the course of 82 kill attempts, Wittenberg (35-3) committed just two errors.
“Honestly, that was something that I really wasn’t expecting,” Wittenberg coach Paco Labrador said. “Once [I was shown] the box score, it really was something that was hard for me to believe because Cal Lutheran played great defense and Cal Lutheran has some nice blocking.”
The win means that Wittenburg will take on Eastern (36-2) in a 7 p.m. ET national semifinal match on Saturday.
Wittenberg was led in hitting during the quarterfinal by senior outside hitter Kimmie Dyer.
Dyer collected 10 kills to go along with 10 digs and she also added a robust .556 hitting average. Not too shabby for a player who was a middle hitter in high school.
To Dyer, the win over Cal Lutheran felt less like a national quarterfinal and more just like a regular match.
“It kind of felt just like another game,” Dyer said. “I knew we were hitting well, I just didn’t know we were hitting that well. We hit .451 as a team. I look back and now realize that we did hit better, a lot better, than I thought we did. I think it was really cool to go out and not really feel the pressure of a quarterfinal game.”
If there is one thing Dyer knows on the volleyball court, it is good hitting.
She leads Wittenberg with 340 kills — or just under an average of 3.5 per game — and her success rate isn’t lost on Labrador. For that is just one facet of Dyer’s game.
“Kimmie is one of those players who plays all six rotations,” Labrador said. “She is also in our serve-receive rotation. She’s got to be able to pass-serve, play defense and she’s got to be able to hit her serves. It’s been a good, fun, but challenging four years for her to take off and be that all-encompassing player.”
For Dyer, she can only enjoy the win against Cal Lutheran so long. She and her teammates will now have to prepare for a very tough Eastern team.
“It is very exciting,” Dyer said. “It is cool to be in a different scenario than any we’ve ever been in before. It’s awesome.”