By Tasha Cook
The Lady Cavs volleyball team ended a successful season in late November with a 10th place finish in the NJCAA D-II National Tournament in Toledo, Ohio.
The team finished with a winning season of 26-13. It finished 2-2 in the final tournament, winning two matches against Hagerstown Community College (Maryland) and Illinois Central and losing against rival Kishwaukee College and Parkland College (both in Illinois).
The Lady Cavs consisted of seven freshmen and four sophomores this year, so the efforts of this season should help lead to success next season.
“We were a young team with talent but needed experience,” said head coach Jennifer Ei. “I believe we gained experience throughout the season and it will help the freshmen next year with more discipline and leadership.
“We need to get more consistent and eliminate unforced errors during the matches but this usually happens with a young team.”
Ei attributed much of their success this year to sophomore middle hitter Emily Hester and freshman setter Jessica Anderson.
“[Hester] was a huge factor offensively and as a blocker,” she said. “She was our go-to hitter throughout the season. [Anderson] ran the court as our only setter this year. She learned so much this year and will continue to become a great setter in [the college’s] history.”
Hester said the team was very close this year and had fun while working hard.
“It was great to go two years in a row,” she said. “Attending the national tournament is a great experience and I am so thankful for the opportunity to go. Although the outcome is not what we had hoped for this year, it was a great year and I enjoyed playing with each and every one of these girls.”
Sophomore offensive hitter Crystal Simon was proud to get to nationals but a little disappointed with the outcome.
“A lot of people would take tenth at nationals with excitement,” she said. “Although I’m not upset about it, I wouldn’t exactly say I’m thoroughly excited about it just because I know we had the potential to win it. Regardless of the finish, it was a great season and a great experience that I’ll remember forever.”
“This year’s team loved each other so much and was such as enjoyable team,” Ei said. “We really bonded together and I am so proud of the people they have become.”
Contact Tasha Cook, managing editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.