Volleyball team takes third at nationals
By Mac Moore
The college’s volleyball team made it back to nationals after the unthinkable happened last season. They lost in the district title match, one step from the big stage. This was unthinkable because the team had become a perennial nationals contender since the 2005 season.
That 2005 season was the perfect opportunity to create this dominate decade of competition. That year the team won the national championship. Since then the team has thrice earned national runner up. The 2013 squad was hoping to breakthrough and regain the glory of that championship eight years ago.
The team lost that bid against a tough Parkland team in the semifinals. Despite the letdown in the semis, the team regrouped to defeat Oakland. The victory earned the team a third place finish, as well as earning coach Jennifer Ei her 200th career victory at the college. Ei answered questions about the team’s 2013 campaign.
How would you describe the team’s performance at nationals?
“We came out very strong against Hagerstown and accomplished our goal of moving forward in the tournament. We faced DMACC in the quarter finals and they were a touch team. We lost the first set, and then rallied back to win the next three sets. We faced a tall and very good Parkland team in the semi-final match. We lost the first two sets in close scores then we won the next set. We made a few too many unforced errors to a great team who capitalized on it and beat us in the semi-final match to go to the national championship game. We refocused ourselves to play hard for the chance to place third in the nation. We beat Oakland for third place and Gwen Getz came into the match to help our team finish third place.”
What was the team morale like after the loss to Parkland in the semifinals?
“We were sad that we fell short of our goal to win a national title but we still had business to take care of and win third place.”
What did you do to get the team prepared for the third place match?
“We scouted Oakland during the national tournament so we prepared the team to focus on what they did and what we needed to do in order to win that match.”
The third place victory was your 200th career victory as JCCC head coach. Did that register with you going in or were you just trying to get your squad to finish nationals on a high note?
“I actually had no idea it was my 200th win until I read an article by Tyler Cundith this past Thanksgiving break. I am excited that this team’s final match marked my 200th win.”
Sophomore Preecy Seever was named all-tournament team. Describe her performance, both during nationals and throughout the season?
“Preecy Seever was one of those amazingly athletic players that other teams prepare to stop in order to win against JCCC. She performed at nationals like she did all season long, explosive and noticeable! She had a great season and deserves to be recognized for her outstanding play.”
This team has a lot of freshmen. What does this tournament run mean for your returning players?
“The freshmen group played hard all season long and can’t wait to get started in the spring to prepare for a national title. They know what it is like to be at the tournament and play in big matches. Now they are focused to get back there and win it all.”
How would you describe the team’s performance for the season?
“This was a very special team who learned what it is like to be a family in the ups and the downs. They were resilient and learned how to play unselfish. They are so enjoyable and we will miss them.”
Contact Mac Moore, sports editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.