Tigers Roundup: 37-0 Volleyball, men and women’s soccer teams, all capture district titles, ready for nationals


From RAMA PEROO/Cowley College

The No. 1-ranked Cowley College volleyball team continued its dominance with a 25-14, 25-12, 25-11 win over third-seeded Allen Community College in the Plains A District Tournament Championship played Saturday at Friends University in Wichita.

The victory improves Cowley’s record to 37-0 and sends the Lady Tigers back to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament for a third straight year.

Allen finishes the season with a record of 20-10, while Cowley moves on to play November 15-18 at the national tournament in Cedar Rapids, IA.

In Saturday’s championship, Cowley was in complete control as they finished with a .400 hitting percentage as a team.

“I thought we did a good job of being us,” Cowley head coach Steven Gream said. “We balanced the court, served aggressively, and kept the pressure on them the entire match.”


Cowley finished with eight service aces and was led in hitting by freshman Laura Bonomi, who finished with 14 kills and 11 digs.

Sophomore setter Rossana Papa joined Bonomi with a double-double, finishing with 35 assists and 10 digs. Fellow sophomores Anna Kiss (10 kills) and Sadie Kabisch (22 digs) also played well.

“Our sophomores put in the work since last spring to up their game, especially Rossana, who had to recover from an injury and get the rust off from being out a whole season,” Gream said.

Freshmen Sara Puskus added 13 kills, while Valerie Luna and Lu Ceroni chipped in with five and four kills, respectively.

“Our freshmen stepped right in and learned our system and have worked hard to improve each day,” Gream said. “These efforts have paid off throughout the season.”

Cowley will now await to see who they will play to open the national tournament.

‘“From day one of preseason, the goal was to get back to the national tournament,” Gream said. “The team stuck to the plan, played to our standards, played for each other with our motto of ‘With Each Other, For Each Other,’ and we are excited to return to the national tournament.”

Tiger women’s soccer team wins first-ever district title

All the hard work paid off. After 16 seasons since starting the women’s soccer program at Cowley College, the Lady Tigers are heading to the national tournament for the first time in program history after Cowley knocked off top-seeded Barton Community College 2-1 Sunday in the Plains District title game played in Overland Park, KS.

Roberto dos Santos served as the head coach of the women’s soccer team in the inaugural season of the program in 2008. He then went on to coach the Tiger men’s soccer team before returning to coach the Lady Tigers in 2018.

This was the second district title game dos Santos had led his team to in the past three seasons, the first being a heartbreaking 3-2 overtime loss to Butler in 2021. This time, the Lady Tigers were able to finish the job.

“This is a historic win for the program; I am so proud of this team,” dos Santos said. “They have been so resilient throughout the season, always looking to get better, and it showed during the district final.”

Barton entered Sunday’s game ranked eighth in the NJCAA Division I with a record of 14-1-3. Two of the Cougars’ three ties came against Cowley in the regular season.

Cowley, ranked 17th, improves its record to 12-3-4.

On Sunday, Cowley struck first when sophomore Lucia Rivas scored her team-leading ninth goal of the season midway through the opening half.

Eight minutes later, Barton would tie the game at 1-1 on a free kick.

The game would remain tied until Nanaka Inaba netted her fifth goal of the season off an assist from Fenja Leibner with 20 minutes remaining.

Cowley would make the lead stand up as the team set off a raucous celebration when the game clock struck zero.

“We played a good team, and our Cowley players showed that we are competitive and don’t give up easily,” dos Santos said. “It is a great day to be a Tiger!”

The Lady Tigers will not have to travel far as this year’s national tournament will be played November 12-18 at the Stryker Sports Complex in Wichita.

“We are so happy to be a part of the national tournament,” dos Santos said. “We are excited and will get the most out of this opportunity.”

Three-peat! Tiger men’s soccer team captures third straight district title with 2-1 win over Barton

Just hours after watching the Cowley College women’s soccer team win its first-ever district title, the No. 11-ranked Cowley College men’s soccer team made it a clean sweep for the Tiger soccer programs with a 2-1 win over fifth-ranked Barton Community College Sunday in the Plains District Championship held in Overland Park.

The district title was the third in a row for the Tigers, who improved to 15-4 on the season.

“It was an unforgettable Sunday for our team and the whole Cowley soccer family,” Cowley head coach Ruy Vaz said. “Winning the Plains District Championship three times in a row and celebrating with the women’s team after beating a big rival was nothing short of historical.”

On Sunday, Barton struck first as they took an early 1-0 lead. However, Cowley was able to tie the game at 1-1 thanks to a goal by Thiago Apolinario in the final two minutes of the opening half. Sota Nakazono assisted on the goal.

“We were under pressure once again, and the boys understood that we had to come together as a team,” Vaz said. “Barton is a team that always capitalizes on the opponent’s mistakes, and getting scored at the beginning made the obstacle even bigger. I knew we just needed a goal in the first half to bring things back to balance again.”

Apolinario would score his second goal of the game and ninth of the season in the final minute of Sunday’s game as he scored on a penalty kick, and Cowley held on for the 2-1 win.

“Thiago was huge with two goals; he is the type of player that thrives in big games, and I am not surprised by his performance and composure,” Vaz said. “Sora (Funakoshi) and Yuki (Nakamura) were tremendous on and off the ball, and they showed why they have been so important to us over the past two seasons.

Freshman Kamy Ndione earned the win in goal.

“Kamy gave us so much security in goal; I applaud him for his solid performance,” Vaz said.

Cowley, winners of four games in a row, advances to play at the NJCAA Division I National Championships November 17-23 at the Stryker Sports Complex in Wichita.

Barton (17-2-3) will await to see if they are selected to compete at the national tournament.

“Going back to nationals is a big win for our program,” Vaz said. “Only eight teams get an automatic bid to the tournament, and we have done it five times in the past six seasons. It just shows how serious we are about being consistent, having a winning mentality, and asserting dominance.”