With a great group of faithful fans, students, faculty, staff, and parents in tow, the Spartans traveled on Saturday, November 9, to Fort Dodge to play the seventh ranked Kirkwood Eagles for the Region XI Pool B Championship. The Spartans knew they would have a tough time beating the perennially strong Eagles, and that became abundantly clear in the first game. The Spartans narrowly dropped the game 31-33. Head Coach Melissa Blessington said, “Game one may have been our most intense game of the year. Our girls didn’t seem to miss a beat. We were up in that game, so we knew we just needed to continue to execute in the next match.”
“In game two, we got the win and that seemed to give us confidence for game three. Even though we did get down in game three the girls knew they could push and get the win. We were up in game four by a large amount, I believe 10 at one point. Our girls did get a little bit tentative and allowed Kirkwood to get back in there.”
The Spartans won the last three close matches in a row 25-21, 25-23, and 25-23.
“It was so fitting that Janaya Fox scored the game winning point for our team,” said Blessington. “She was a work horse for us and did a great job in the front row and the back row. This was such a great win for these girls. Not only does it justify the amount of hard work these girls have put in but it gives us a realistic view of what we will see at nationals. Our team understands how to play in the moment and not let it be so big that it takes over. We are excited to be going to nationals. It has been 13 years and we are going to keep pushing ourselves to get better to represent our region at nationals!”
This win not only extends the Spartans winning streak to 13, but also earned them a spot in the 2013 NJCAA Division II Volleyball National Championship to be held at Owens Community College in Toledo, OH, on November 21-23. More information will be provided when the championship brackets have been determined.
The Spartans started off Region XI Tournament play with an exclamation point last night! They defeated the visiting Northeast NE CC Hawks in three games extending their winning streak to 11. The Spartans took the first game with some solid defense and heavy hitting allowing only nine points. The next two games, they won 25-15 and 25-17.
Head Coach Melissa Blessington said, “I am very excited about how the team played tonight. We came out and set the tone that we wanted the win. Our girls have worked so hard this year and have done some incredible things and yet they know there is still a lot of work to do. We have to play very well to get to nationals and it is going to take three solid days of practice to get ourselves ready for this match.”
The Spartans will travel to Fort Dodge on Saturday, November 9, to play seventh ranked Kirkwood for the Region XI-B Bracket final in a (UPDATED) 3 p.m. match. The winner of that game will advance to the NJCAA DII Volleyball National Championship in Toledo, OH, on November 21-23.
With the post season brackets already determined, the Spartans had a home doubleheader with Graceland to finish the 2013 regular season and tack another two wins onto their already 30-win season. The Spartans defeated both Graceland teams in the best of three matches. Head Coach Melissa Blessington said, “These were two good matches for us on parents’ night. Our girls did a good job playing to our level both matches. Now we need to carry our 10 game winning-streak on through regional play.”
The Spartans, solely in third place in Region XI, will face-off at home against the Northeast CC Hawks from Norfolk, NE. The first round match will be held in the Student Center Gymnasium Tuesday, November 5 at 7 p.m.
In their final conference match of the regular season, the Spartans quickly defeated Iowa Lakes in three games to earn their 30th win of the season.
Head coach Melissa Blessington said, “Our team played really well and I am very happy that we executed the whole match. We had great contribution off of our bench with Sydney Whitmarsh and Kirsten Anderson. It is great to know that we are able to bring in players and have them make a difference. We are hoping to finish strong against Graceland and make that push toward regionals.”