Lady Badgers lose in first round of nationals
By Matt Harris
HUTCHINSON, KS—Snow College volleyball’s magical season met an unexpectedly early end at the NJCAA Division 1 national tournament this week.
The Lady Badgers were upset in their first game the tournament, 3-1, by Northeastern Junior College, Colo., in sets of 25-22, 25-19 and 25-21, while winning the second set, 25-20. Dropping down to losers’ bracket, Snow then fell again, 3-0, to Panola, Tex., to fall out of the tournament.
“We couldn’t be more proud of everything our team has accomplished this year,” Coach Jeff Reynolds said. “It has been a record-breaking, championship season. We weren’t able to get the job done here in Kansas, but that doesn’t take away the remarkable experiences we have had this season. These kids are simply amazing, and I have no doubt we’ll re-group and be back at it again next year.”
Snow struggled early against Northeastern on Thursday after the Plainswomen built up a 4-1 lead. With the help of a kill by Andreanna McKee, the Lady Badgers got back into it, 6-6, before Northeastern ran away again. Northeastern led 22-16 at one point before Snow peeled off a 5-1 run to make it 23-22, but the Plainswomen closed it out with the final three points of the set.
The second set went much more Snow’s way as they led 18-10 at one point before Northeastern went on a 6-0 run to get back in it. The two teams traded scores until Snow took the set. Northeastern closed out the Badgers in the final two sets.
On paper, Northeastern slightly edged out Snow in almost every statistical category. Ellee Anderson led the Badgers in assists with 41, while Sarah Morley had 18 kills.
The following Friday, Snow took on Panola, and the Ponies beat them convincingly, 25-15, 25-15, and 25-19. McKee led the attack with nine kills while Anderson contributed 22 assists, but the Badgers suffered from 20 errors to Panola’s 11 and a .110 kill percentage to Panola’s .337.
Snow ended their season with a record of 32-4 overall, the SWAC Championship and Rocky Mountain District titles, and a second consecutive trip to the national tournament after a 38-year hiatus. They also were ranked as high as fifth in national polls.