SPRINGFIELD, Ohio—In 2015, the Wittenberg Tigers women's volleyball program made it all the way to the national title game against California Lutheran University. Long before this took place, the 2016 schedule was in the works, with Cal Lutheran penciled in to make the trip to Pam Evans Smith Arena to partake in the Wittenberg Fall Classic. Little did Coach Paco Labrador and his girls know that the matchup in 2016 would be a rematch of the national title game, let alone one in which the Tigers would be seeking revenge.
Cal Lutheran entered Friday night's marquee matchup with a perfect 8-0 record, and a #1 ranking in just about every Division III volleyball poll. The Tigers knew what they were up against from the start, and rose to the challenge, throwing the first punch over and over again, downing the #1 team in the land in four sets; 25-19, 31-29, 14-25, and 25-20. The home crowd in Springfield was as rowdy as ever, as 1,000 plus fans in Pam Evans Smith Arena saw history right in front of their very own eyes.
- Wittenberg's team chemistry was unmatched on Friday night, as Kendall Farmer made a heroic return to the lineup, recording seven kills and four digs.
- Coach Labrador and his team have been searching for their identity in the early non-conference schedule, but after knocking off the #2, the #9 and the #1 the ranked teams in the nation, Coach Labrador felt certain that that identity was becoming more clear in Friday's post-game interview.
- On the court, Maddie Fischer continued her strong campaign, racking up 11 kills and eight digs, while emerging as a go-to force on offense alongside Camila Quiñones and Aubrey Cox.
- Quinoñes and Cox also produced eight kills apiece for the Tigers, as the Senior-Freshman duo proved to be too much to handle for Cal Lu's blockers.
- For the second straight match, Madison Manger recorded 21 digs, as the libero shined all night in the historic victory.
- Megan Flaherty and Karen Wildemann combined for 43 assists and 17 digs on the night, as the sophomore tandem sparked plenty of Tiger attacks on Friday.
- On the attack, Wittenberg edged out Cal Lu in terms of attack errors, as Wittenberg committed 27 to the visitors 28.
FROM THE COACH
- "We flat out got knocked in the mouth in the third set, but I was able to get through to my girls and challenge them. We proved tonight that we are the ones that can throw the punches, and that when we get knocked out, we can get right back up and finish the deal like we did in the fourth set," said Coach Labrador.
- Wittenberg will recharge and return to action against #22 Elmhurst at 1:00PM tomorrow at Pam Evans Smith Arena.
- The Tigers will then have another quick break before squaring off against #3 Calvin at 5:00PM.
- Full Classic Preview and Bracket
PHOTO OF THE NIGHT
CLIP OF THE NIGHT
— Wittenberg Athletics (@WittAthletics) September 17, 2016