Dec. 2, 2010

By Gary Brown

LOUISVILLE, Ky. − Central Missouri defeated Wingate in straight sets, 25-21, 25-18, 25-19, in the nightcap of the Division II Women's Volleyball Championship quarterfinals on Thursday night at Knights Hall on the campus of Bellarmine University in Louisville.

"I thought both teams started a little shaky," said Central Missouri head coach Phil Piontek. "As the match went on I thought both teams settled down and it was a good match. Overall, I was very pleased with our effort and the intensity we showed." In the first set, Central Missouri jumped out to an early lead, although Wingate was able to hang within three or four points before the Jennies went on a 7-2 run to take control at 20-12. However, the Bulldogs wouldn't give up and went on a 5-1 run of their own to close within 21-17 before Central Missouri was able to battle back and take the first set, 25-21.

In set two, Wingate was the team that jumped out to an early lead at 8-4. However, Central Missouri fought back and took the lead at 12-11. The two teams battled back and forth from there, but with the score tied at 17, the Jennies went on an 8-1 to finish it off, 25-18.

Central Missouri was able to establish a lead early on in the third set, even increasing it to five points at 9-4. The Jennies then pushed the lead to nine points, 21-12, before the Bulldogs responded for the last time of the night with a 6-1 run to cut the lead to 22-18. Central Missouri was able to close out the match at 25-19.

Junior middle hitter Paula Harris and freshman outside hitter Taylor Goodness led the way for the Jennies with nine kills, while junior outside hitter Allie Huffman added eight and senior middle hitter Abby Gruenbacher had seven. Sophomore setter Julia Bates had 35 assists for Central Missouri.

The Bulldogs were led by senior middle blocker Rebecca Bloemer, a Louisville native, who had 10 kills and a .667 hitting percentage.

"I am really proud of the season we had," said Wingate head coach Shelton Collier. "This is our first Elite Eight appearance and we could have come in here and just been happy to be here, but I was proud of the way we battled and hung in there. We did a lot of good things out there tonight."

Central Missouri, now 32-4 on the year, moves on to play Tampa in Friday night's second semifinal. Wingate, which was in the Elite Eight for the first time in school history, finishes the year at 30-2.