HUTCHINGSON, Kansas—Snow College hit its stride in volleyball this season, peaking at the right time to win the Region 18 tournament in National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and paving the way for a seventh place finish last week in the NCJAA national tournament.
The Badgers played with calm confidence and strong leadership in their third straight national tournament appearance. The tournament was played at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kansas.
Freshman Hannah Smith led the team offensively with 11 kills, while sophomores K.J. Strong and Macie Gordon were also heavy hitters, contributing nine kills each. Freshman Libero Sage Loveland led the team in digs with 14, while Macy Short had an impressive 42 assists.
In its first game in Hutchinson on Thursday, Nov. 18, Snow College faced Northeastern College (No. 10) and won in three straight sets 25-19, 25-19, and 25-23.
Later that day, the Badgers faced No. 2 Butler of El Dorado, Kansas, in the quarterfinals. Snow battled hard but lost in straight sets 22-25, 24-26 and 16-25. In fact, three of the four top-seeded teams were upset in that first day of tournament play.
In a point-by-point battle against Butler, the Badgers often held the lead but failed to close out sets when they had the chance. Smith and Short (the team captain) played well in the match, each finishing with four aces. Bailey Rassmussen led the offense with 12 kills. Freshman middle blocker Tricia Tua’one hit .571 in the second set.
The Badgers couldn’t bounce back in the consolation bracket when they faced No. 3-seed Miami Dade Community College. (Miami-Date had also been upset in the quarter finals.) Snow College went down battling, 3 sets to 1.
Snow College finished out with an impressive straight-set victory over Blinn College of Brenham, Texas, 25-21, 25-18 and 26-24, to finish seventh in the tournament.