Jayhawks To Play For 7th Place
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Jamestown Community College rolled into the NJCAA Division III Women’s Volleyball Championship as the only unbeaten team in the eight-team field.
But the Jayhawks had never faced the likes of Eastfield (Texas) College.
Behind the dominant play of Keishla Reyes, the second-seeded Harvesters rolled to a 26-16, 25-11, 25-9 victory over No. 7 Jamestown CC in the quarterfinals at UCR Regional Sports Center on Friday afternoon.
The loss was followed a couple hours later by a 25-23, 22-25, 25-20, 20-25, 15-12 setback to No. 6 Northampton (Pa.) in the fifth-place game.
Jamestown CC (30-2) will close out tournament play this morning at 11 EST when they take on No. 8 Queensborough (N.Y.) in its bid for a seventh-place finish.
“Making it to the national tournament is an absolute honor,” said Jayhawks coach Ashley Lund, who was making her second appearance at nationals, the first coming in 2012. “To do it with six freshmen and one sophomore … that’s still an awesome accomplishment. Obviously, our goal is to end our season with a win. I know they wanted a national championship and so did I, but it’s definitely a different ballgame here.”
Reyes and company saw to that. An injury to Jamestown CC’s top player, SallyAnne Rudny, midway through the second set against Eastfield didn’t help either.
“Their serving obviously was a dominant factor against us, for sure,” Lund said. “They had a ton of weapons, too. … They were able to spread the ball out and use everybody, and everybody was effective.”
Rudny’s kill on the first point of the match gave the Jayhawks their only lead. Eastfield then went on a 7-0 run, built a comfortable margin and then cruised to the first-set win.
“We were certainly overpowered,” Lund said.
It didn’t help that Rudny suffered a broken nose late in the second set. After a trip to the hospital, the Region III Player of the Year returned in time for the Jayhawks’ second match.
In her abbreviated time on the floor against Eastfield, Rudny finished with two aces, seven kills and three digs. MacKenzie Marsh had one ace, four kills and five digs; Sierra Wells added one ace, 12 assists, one kill and eight digs; Kendyl Austin collected three kills and two digs; and Kaylin Brumagin had two aces and two blocks.
The win vaulted the Texas school into the semifinals against Central Lakes (Minn.) where the Harvesters (27-7) posted a 25-21, 25-13, 25-18 victory. Eastfield will now meet No. 1 Harper (Ill.) in the title match at 5 p.m. today.
The Jayhawks had a considerably better performance against Northampton.
Rudny finished with two aces, 25 kills, nine digs and one block; Tara Sweeney had seven aces, seven kills, 11 digs and one block; Wells had one ace, 41 kills, 11 digs and one block; Austin added one ace, seven kills, even digs and two blocks; and Marsh chipped in four kills and 13 digs.
“In the first game, we were on pins and needles, wondering if everybody was going to make it through,” Lund said. “Once we figured it out, we got in a groove. We had some big leads, but we got stuck in a couple rotations that weren’t working that well for us. To get it to five games is a testament of their fight and drive.”