SLCC melts Snow in three sets (25 – 12, 26 – 24, 25 – 20)
Salt Lake Community College’s first game at the Regional 18 Championships came against a Snow College team that played earlier in the day. The 1-seeded Bruins came out blazing against the No. 4 seed Badgers. The Badgers tried to fight back, but the Bruins were just too strong.
SLCC, which has already won the Scenic West Athletic Conference (SWAC) Championship based on a 10 and 0 in conference record, will play at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 1 p.m. at Bruin Arena for the Regional 18 Championship and a higher seed at Nationals. They face Northern Idaho College in what promises to be a barnburner.
Before the game, Carol Grasso received Player of the Year honors for Region 18. Grasso led the Bruins and the SWAC with 414 kills and 48 service aces. She was second on the team with 336 digs.
Coach Sue Dulaney was named Coach of the Year.
Grasso and Bailee Kendall were also named to the First Team All-Region 18. Jillian Campbell was named to the Second Team, and Indigo Allen and Baylie Henrie received Honorable Mention.
Snow College faced a flamethrower as the Bruins came out fired up and turned on the heat. There was nothing that the Badgers could do to stop the avalanche as Kendall and Janessa Koelliker contributed kills, Mariana Pilon had an ace and one of Grasso’s kills went off the hands of the defense and forced the Badgers to take a timeout. The score was 10 – 3.
The Badgers came out claws bared and scored the next two points, but a serve out gave SLCC a point to stem the flow. That would be the closest that the Badgers would get. Henrie finished the set with a rare kill from the setter position that was so quick no one was expecting it.
With the adrenaline wearing off, the Bruins started thinking too much rather than playing. SLCC was down by as much as four but came back to tie it up at 15 on a Snow hit into the net. The teams went back and forth with the score tied again at 19.
Another error by the Badgers tied the score at 22. Campbell set up on the block and sent the ball back to get the Bruins ahead by 1 point, but she was alone on an island for the next ball that came her way, and she was unable to block it, which tied the score at 23.
Sequoia Lofton came up with a kill, but Campbell’s long serve tied the score again at 24. Kendall’s first attempt at a kill didn’t work, but she came back in the next play to deliver the kill and put the Bruins up 1. Koelliker worked her defensive magic to keep the Badgers off balance. She then killed the ball for the set win at 26 – 24.
The Badgers were able to tie the set at 14 on a Kendall hit that went long, but that is as close as they would get. At 22 – 17, the Badgers Taylor Castillo hit a kill. Grasso answered from the center on the next play as she swooped down on the ball and blasted the defense with her kill. When you need a score, you go to Grasso. Snow took advantage of SLCC’s defense at the net and was able to get 1 more point on a long hit by Kendall. With the score 23 – 20, Campbell spiked the ball and hit everything including the net and a couple of Badger players. While Snow was still on tilt from the Campbell kill, Pilon hit a kill through the Badgers hands and off their feet as the Snow College did everything they could to play into Nationals.
With the game over in 3 sets, the anguish was written all over the Badgers. SLCC celebrated and will look to cut NIC on Saturday.