The 6-seed Salt Lake Community College Bruins were clicking on all cylinders at the NJCAA National Tournament over the weekend. They swept their first two opponents 14-seed Hill College and 3-seed Western Nebraska Community College putting the Bruins just two wins from the championship.
Unfortunately, Bailee Kendall went down with a knee injury in the first set of the third game against 2-seed Tyler Junior College. Kendall attempted to play through the injury, but the head referee stopped the game when she was unable to continue. After going back to the locker room, Kendall attempted unsuccessfully to go again in the third set. No one can fault her heart for the attempt, and the Bruins missed her play.
SLCC was still able to get the lead in the game at two sets to one, but Tyler wore out SLCC’s All-Tournament player Carol Grasso serving at her on every possession. In the end, Grasso was too tired and there was no other player that could step into Kendall’s spot. In spite of the five set fight, Tyler won three sets to two (25-17, 23-25, 25-20, 14-25, 12-15).
This put the Bruins in the consolation round vying for third place against Hillsborough Community College. The Bruins got off to a hot start taking the first set in dominating fashion at 25-17. The second set turned into a dogfight as HCC was able to close out strong. The Bruins held on for a 25-23 win. That was all the Bruins could muster as HCC used defense and Andrea Tauai to kill the Bruins’ hope of a third-place finish.
The Bruins did their best, but HCC took the game in five sets (25-17, 25-23, 21-25, 19-25, 3-15).
Overall, the Volleyball season was deemed a success, as the team succeeded at a higher level than their seeding would have suggested. Reigning Scenic West Athletic Conference player of the year Grasso is scheduled to return for the next season, and the Bruins have signed four high school standout players for the 2014 season.