The Grand Rapids Community College volleyball team is headed to the national championship tournament for the 11th time in program history after a four-set win over St. Clair County Community College.
“Each player comes to our program with the goal of winning a conference, state, regional and national title,” head coach Chip Will said.
“This group has worked every day on and off the court to give themselves a chance at achieving this goal. We as a staff couldn’t be prouder of how the girls competed together this weekend as teammates, always making sure they were making the person next to them better. The Raider Nation crowd helped create an unbelievable atmosphere on St. Clair’s home floor. This was a total program championship!”
After two wins on opening night, including one against St. Clair, the MCCAA and Northern Conference champions only had to play one on Friday night and swept Kalamazoo Valley Community College to advance to the championship match.
St. Clair County battled back through the consolation bracket, winning three in a row to land a rematch against the Raiders. GRCC prevailed, 25-18, 25-13, 19-25, and 25-13.
GRCC played its best defense of the tournament, with 82 digs and having just two reception errors. Sophomore libero Audrey Gower was a digging machine finishing with a match-high 18 while Kara Hecht added 15.
Offensively, tournament MVP Audrey Torres led the way with a match-high 19 kills, giving her a tournament total of 55.
Eliza Thelen and Kara Hecht each had 11 kills and Shannon Russell dished out 35 assists.
Because of their outstanding tournament play, Hecht, Russell and Karrisa Ferry joined Torres on the All-Tournament team.
GRCC, ranked No. 13 in the latest NJCAA Division II poll, improved to 24-3 overall, and now awaits its opponent for the NJCAA Division II National Championship that takes place Nov. 17 to 19 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.