NORFOLK, Neb. – For the third consecutive year, the Northeast Community College volleyball team will be heading back to the NJCAA DII National Tournament after cruising over North Iowa Area Community College (25-12, 25-16 and 25-11) at the Cox Activities Center in Norfolk.
The Hawks started strong and finished strong in the three-set match. Northeast fed off of misplayed attacks from the Trojans, increasing their lead to 10 points on multiple occasions. After tallying 28 kills in the first two sets, Northeast put the game out of reach for the Trojans, recording 11 kills and only three errors on 32 total attacks.
"The main thing we tried to do was stay in system," head coach Amanda Schultze said. "We were able to stay in system and we didn't get aced a lot. Our attackers did a great job as well as our blockers. We also had to play defense as that has been a thing all year."
Playing in front of their home crowd, the Hawks never let the momentum slip from the first point to the last.
"Energy, we just all brought the energy," sophomore Savannah Nelson said, after pitching in 33 assists and later named MVP of the tournament. "Our bench was great and we were aggressive the entire match and never timid."
Caitlin Orton (Mills, Neb.) led the offensive attack with 12 kills and four blocks. Kalli Brester (Howells, Neb.) chipped in eight kills and 15 digs, while Gabriela Barbosa (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) added 17 digs.
Hannah Heppner (Stanton, Neb.), Brester and Nelson were named to the All-Tournament Team for their efforts.
The Hawks (19-13, 8-1 ICCAC) await their next opponent in the national tournament that is slated for Nov. 15-17 in Charleston, W.V.
For all news related to Northeast Community College athletics, visit northeasthawks.com for complete coverage. Fans can also follow the Hawks on Twitter @NortheastHawks for game-day coverage.