Salt Lake Community College’s volleyball team will represent Region 18A at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Volleyball Tournament in Casper, WY. The NJCAA Tournament is scheduled for Nov. 21 through Nov. 23. The bracket has yet to be announced.
The Bruins earned the right by defeating North Idaho College (NIC) in 3 sets (25 – 22, 25 – 21, 25 – 21) at the Region 18 Championships on the Taylorsville Redwood Campus.
Carol Grasso, who was named Player of the Year for the Scenic West Athletic Conference on Friday, received the Tournament Most Valuable Player award on Saturday, Nov. 9 after the win.
Bruin setter Baylie Henrie was named to the All-Tournament Team.
The set was tied at 13 when the Bruins stepped it up. Janessa Koelliker had an excellent defensive play on a block and then was responsible for the tap back that scored the point. Mariana Pilon had a tap into the back corner that brought on Cardinal time out with the score 15 – 13. NIC came out of the timeout with a kill, but the Bruins reeled of 4 points to put the score at 19 – 14 with a Bailee Kendall kill that NIC got a hand on and sent sailing into the crowd.
NIC had a kill and scored again when Henrie found herself in the net. Kendall hit another shot that NIC had a hand on but couldn’t chase down. With the score 20 – 16, NIC had a kill that Grasso answered with a kill of her own on the angle. Allysa Koki couldn’t dig the next play, which put the score at 21 – 18.
Jillian Campbell stuffed the Cardinals at the net and recovered when the ball ended up on the Bruins side. Grasso hit a kill into the back corner. Campbell and Grasso then combined for a block against the Cardinals to make it 23 – 18. The Cardinals scored the next 3 points and the Bruins called a time out leading the set at 23 – 21.
A Cardinal serve into the net resulted in a Bruin point, but the Bruins blocked the next ball out of bounds. Kendall came up with the game winner smashing the ball into the SWAC Libero of the Year Russia Robinson. The set ended with a score of 25 – 22.
The set was never in question as the Bruins doubled up the Cardinals at 16 – 8. A Larissa Claassen kill that Pilon sent into the stands got the Cardinals to within 2 with the score 19 – 17. The Bruins called a time out and came out with a Koelliker kill. The two teams traded long serves, NIC spiked the ball into the net and Grasso was rejected at the net to put the score at 22 – 19.
Grasso had a tip over the defense, but knocked the ball out of bounds from the block in the next play. A Pilon hit into the net made the score 23 – 21. Kendall came back with a kill and Pilon followed suit in the next play to win the set at 25 – 21.
The Bruins came out of the locker room loose after the half, and they were able to take an early lead doubling up the Cardinals at 8 – 4. The Cardinals fought their way back to a tie at 10 after a Henrie set kill attempt failed and Grasso hit the ball long. Grasso was then rejected at the net and hit the ball long on the next play leading to a Bruin time out and a 2 point lead for the Cardinals with the score 10 – 12.
Out of the time out, Leeta Grap found a hole in the Bruin defense, but NIC served it long. The next play Britney Chilcott had a kill against the Bruins, and the score was 11 – 14.
On the next play Grasso called for the ball and wouldn’t stop coming. Here first two kill attempts didn’t work, but she would not be denied and her third kill found the floor as the Bruins pulled within 2 at 12 – 14. Grasso and Campbell combined on the block to send the ball back with authority, but NIC found the hole again and the score was 13 – 15.
Henrie set the ball too high for Campbell to get on the next play, Pilon was rejected, and Grasso hit the ball off of the antenna resulting in a 13 – 18 deficit. Fortunately, the Bruins brought out the D and Campbell and Grasso worked together on one play and Campbell and Sequoia Lofton put it together on the next play. With nothing getting through, the Cardinals overcompensated and hit the ball long to bring the Bruins back within 2 at 16 – 18.
Lofton answered a NIC kill with one of her own. Kendall followed that with a dunk at the net which made it 18 – 19 and forced a Cardinal time out. Out of the time out Koelliker found herself in the net, and Lofton spiked the ball into the net to put the cardinals back up at 18 – 21.
Grasso laid out to keep the ball off the floor and got up in time to deliver a spike, but NIC recovered on the play and was able to get it to the net only to be rejected by Koelliker. At this point, two things happened, the Cardinals fell apart and Kendall decided to take over.
Kendall started with a defensive play that got her fired up as she returned the ball to sender. She followed that with two kills, and NIC hit a ball out of bounds, which led to them taking a time out. Kendall seemed to be glad for the rest, a she came out of the time out to make the kill again. Henrie had a block and the recovery to keep the ball in play and allow Kendall to win the set and the game with a kill. The score was 25 – 21.
The Bruin Volleyball team opened the game with the National Anthem. There has been no confirmation on if they will be starting a glee club in the off-season. For the moment, they are looking forward to the National Championships.