By RAMA PEROO/Cowley College
The third-seeded Cowley College volleyball team had its season end with a sixth-place finish at the NJCAA Division II National Tournament in Cedar Rapids, IA. The Lady Tigers, which went 2-2 at the national tournament, lost Saturday to ninth-seeded Grand Rapids Community College in the fifth-place match by a score of 25-13, 20-25, 22-25, 25-15, 12-15.
Cowley finishes the season with a record of 40-5. This marks the second straight season the Lady Tigers achieved 40 wins and only the fifth time in the program’s history.
Cowley was led by sophomore Laci Beougher’s 20 kills, while fellow sophomore Rachele Tessari added 12 kills, seven digs, and six aces. Beougher moved into fourth place all-time in career kills (928), while Tessari broke the program record for aces in a career with 177.
Audrey Torres led Grand Rapids with 28 kills and a .410 hitting percentage.
“Grand Rapids is a well-coached and quality team,” Cowley head coach Steven Gream said. “Both teams battled, and it came down to getting stops on defense with both teams’ offenses going back and forth. We just came up short in the three sets that we lost. The two sets we won, it was our side dominating on offense and our serve taking care of the rest.”
Freshman Vivianna Solis finished with the program’s third-most assists in a season with 1,612
Sophomore Gyongyver Araczki’s .452 career hitting percentage places her first all-time in Cowley history for hitting percentage in a career, and Landry Cate’s .396 career hitting percentage ranks her second all-time.
Fifth-seeded Richard Bland claimed its first-ever national title by defeating sixth-seeded Scottsdale (AZ) in the title match, while Parkland defeated Johnson County to capture third place.
“The tournament was a very tough one with the four teams we played being quality teams,” Gream said. “Our players worked hard all season and just fell short, but we definitely had chances to win the two matches we lost in tough five-set matches.”