The Grand Rapids Community College volleyball team advanced to the NJCAA Region XII-District A winners bracket final after two wins to open up tournament play on Thursday.
In the team’s opening match, GRCC won convincingly 25-14, 25-18, 25-15, defeating Southwestern Michigan College, which finished in fourth place in the Western Conference this year.
GRCC hit .316 as a team, and was led by Eliza Thelen, who hit .444 with 14 kills on 27 swings.
In the later match GRCC played a very good St. Clair County Community College team, which tied for the Eastern Conference Championship, and came out victorious in four sets, 25-23, 23-25, 25-23, 25-11.
“We dug deep and pulled out a win as a team,” sophomore Karissa Ferry said.
GRCC struggled offensively up until the final set, where it had just one error. The team finished .222 for the match and was led by Audrey Torres, who had 14 kills and hit a team-high .306.
Shannon Russell dished out 45 assists and added eight digs and a team-high four blocks.
Audrey Gower had 16 digs and Kara Hecht had the lone double-double, with 12 kills and 10 digs.
GRCC, ranked No. 13 in the latest NJCAA Division II poll, improved to 22-3 overall, and will play Kalamazoo Valley Community College at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4. A win would allow the team to advance to the championship match at 1 p.m. on Saturday.