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2011 NJCAA DIII Volleyball Championship Set to Begin Nov. 11th

November 7, 2011

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The eight-team tournament field is set for the 2011 NJCAA Division III Volleyball Championship. The two-day event begins Nov. 11 and will be held on the campus of Rochester Community & Technical College (Minn.) and hosted by the Rochester Amateur Sports Commission for the 11th consecutive year.

This year’s tournament field includes defending national champion Ridgewater College (Minn.) and 2009 champion Brookhaven College (Texas). Tournament updates and information can be accessed throughout the event at http://www.rochsports.org/2011njcaavolleyball.php and the official tournament bracket is now available. Fans can also follow the tournament on Facebook.

Also, action from Saturday’s championship round, including the 4th/6th  place match, the 3rd/5th place contest and national championship match, will be video streamed live on NJCAA TV thanks to the efforts of the staff at the Rochester Amateur Sports Commission.

Additional information can be found on the NJCAA DIII Volleyball Championship webpage.

Here is a quick glance at this year’s tournament qualifiers (complete game schedule is listed after team capsules)…

DISTRICT AWith a 33-0 record, Niagara County Community College (N.Y.) returns to the national tournament after missing the cut last season. The Thunderwolves topped No. 8 Erie CC (N.Y.) 3-1 in the District A championship game. Sophomore middle blocker Jessica Crooks is averaging 3.94 kills per set this season for Niagara, ranking fourth in Division III. The No. 5-seeded Thunderwolves will face No. 4-seed Rock Valley College (Ill.) in the first round Friday at 12:30 p.m.

DISTRICT B – Rock Valley College (Ill.) swept Madison College (Wisc.) to earn the District B championship and a return to the national tournament. Freshman outside hitter Kristen Kotch led Rock Valley to a 31-18 record in 2011, averaging over three kills per set. In last season’s tournament, the Golden Eagles fell to eventual national champion Ridgewater CC (Minn.) but won their final match for a third-place finish. Trying to build off that success, No. 4-seeded Rock Valley will play No. 5-seed Niagara CCC (N.Y.) at 12:30 p.m. Friday in the first round.

DISTRICT CMaking their eighth-consecutive appearance in the national tournament is District C champion Brookhaven Community College (Texas). The Bears swept Cedar Valley College (Texas) to secure the District C crown with a 19-18 record. Brookhaven is directed by sophomore setter Megan Muncy who ranks fourth in Division III in assists with 9.1 per set. The No. 2-seeded Bears are hungry for another shot at the title after losing 16-14 in the fifth set of last season’s national championship game. In Friday’s first round match, Brookhaven will take on No. 7-seed Lorain CCC (Ohio) at 11 a.m.

DISTRICT DEntering the national tournament for the first time in school history, Northland Community & Technical College (Minn.) is the No. 3-seed with a 22-2 record in 2011. The Pioneers defeated Itasca CC (Minn.) 3-1 to claim the District D championship. Northland sophomore outside hitter Jessica Fontes is Division III’s most efficient hitter and second-leading scorer, averaging 4.1 kills per set. Matching up with the No. 6-seeded Fashion Institute of Technology (N.Y.) in the first round at 12:30 p.m. Friday, the Pioneers will try to make their first ever national tournament game a memorable one.

DISTRICT ENo. 1 Ridgewater College (Minn.) will head to the national tournament for the seventh-straight season after a 3-1 win over No. 5 Rochester CTC (Minn.) in the District E championship. The defending national champions are 28-3 in 2011 and are conducted by setter Molly Hurrle. The sophomore ranks second in Division III in assists, averaging 10.3 per set this season. The top-seeded Warriors have No. 8-seed Davidson CCC (N.C.) in Friday’s 11 a.m. first round matchup.

DISTRICT FReturning to the national tournament after a seven-year hiatus, the Fashion Institute of Technology (N.Y.) is 17-2 and champions of District F. The Tigers pulled off a 3-1 upset of No. 10 Nassau CC (N.Y.) in the district final. Freshman middle blocker Casey Buie leads the team in kills with 2.3 per set. Friday’s first round match pits the No. 6-seeded Tigers against No. 3-seeded Northland CTC (Minn.) at 12:30 p.m.

DISTRICT GKnocking off Butler CCC (Pa.) in five sets, Lorain County Community College (Ohio) is headed for the national tournament for the first time in school history at 26-12 and champions of District G. Providing solid defense for the Commodores is freshman libero Morgan Madera who ranks fourth in Division III in digs, averaging 6.5 per set. Lorain owns the No.7-seed and has No.2-seed Brookhaven College (Texas) in the first round Friday at 11 a.m.

DISTRICT HBack in the national tournament, Davidson County Community College (N.C.) won the District H title with a 3-1 victory over Montgomery CCC (Pa.). After missing the tournament last season, the 19-8 Storm found success this year behind freshman Kristen Cloninger. The middle blocker is averaging a team-high 2.6 kills per set in 2011. No. 8-seeded Davidson will have a chance to knock off the defending national champions Friday with a first round match against top-seed Ridgewater College (Minn.) at 11 a.m.

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