The Salt Lake Community College volleyball team is ready for Nationals.
After defeating the defending national champion College of Southern Idaho on their home court to earn the Region 18 crown, the Bruins enter the NJCAA National Tournament as a No. 5 seed and will take on 12-seed Wallace State Thursday, Nov. 17.
After a rough start and a heartbreaking loss to CSI midseason, Salt Lake rallied and went on to win the next 10 matches to close out the year. In fact, the Bruins only lost three sets during their streak.
“We’ve been talking about preparation and the will to win all year,” says head coach Sue Dulaney. “And our preparation and will to win is incredible. We haven’t skipped a beat.”
Going into Nationals, the Bruins are focused and their goal is in sight. SLCC missed the opportunity to go to Nationals last year, but sophomore Alyssa Walker says she isn’t letting that affect her or her team’s focus.
“We made two goals in the beginning of the season: to win regionals and win Nationals,” she says. “Last year did hurt a little bit, but we decided we weren’t going to look back on that. We’re focusing on this year and what we can do now.”
The tournament environment isn’t new to freshman Aubrie Steiner, who won state championships in high school in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Because of her past experience, Steiner understands the importance of not getting caught up in the moment.
“Making sure we are still working hard every practice, even though we have a week off, is so important,” she says. “It was the same in high school when we had a week with no games, so it was hard to stay focused, but we just have to get it done. On this team though we are all committed, focused and have the same goals in mind.”
Sophomore Andrea Brady was the most valuable player of the Region 18 Tournament, but she isn’t letting that go to her head and is concentrating on helping her team win a national championship.
“Winning MVP isn’t really in my head at all. I just play as hard as I can every game,” she says. “I’m just super excited going into Nationals. I trust our team and our coaches, and we’re preparing the same way and we’ve been really successful lately. Everyone understands their roles, and it’s been working for us.”
The players and coaches are focused, excited and ready for this tournament. They’ve practiced and prepared all year — this is their moment.
SLCC faces Wallace State at 3 p.m. Mountain Time. Visit SLCC Athletics to follow all of the action.