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2011 NJCAA DII Volleyball Championship Begins Thursday in Toledo, Ohio

November 15, 2011

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The 2011 NJCAA Division II Volleyball Championship tournament is set to begin Nov. 17-19 on the campus of Owens Community College in Toledo, Ohio. This year’s 16 team tournament field looks to be a very competitive as several championship programs, including defending champ Pasco Hernando (Fla.), will take to the court. 

Fans not able to make the trip to Toledo can watch all matches of the tournament on NJCAA TV (www.njcaatv.ihigh.com) thanks to the efforts of Panhandle Sports Broadcasting. 

Fans can follow the tournament online at www2.owens.edu/njcaa/ and the NJCAA Division II Volleyball Championship webpage.

Here is a quick glance at this year’s tournament qualifiers (complete game schedule is available here)…

Claiming the District A title, Kishwaukee College(Ill.) defeated Carl Sandburg College (Ill.) in sweeping fashion to book their 12th-consecutive trip to the national tournament. Sophomore Chelsea Neave has the Kougars aiming for their Division II-record sixth national championship. The setter has been the director of Kishwaukee’s attack this season, averaging 9.9 assists per set and leading the Kougars to a 33-9 record. Kishwaukee enters the tournament as the No. 6-seed and will play No. 11-seed Johnson CCC (Kan.) in the first round.

DISTRICT B – Despite dropping the opening set, Prairie State College (Ill.) rebounded for a 3-1 victory over Moraine Valley CC (Ill.) in the District B championship match. Behind sophomore outside hitter Jessica Stas, the Pioneers are 27-10 and headed to their first ever national tournament. Stas is the team’s leading-scorer with 3.6 kills per set in 2011. Coming in as the No. 15-seed, Prairie State faces a tough first round draw in No. 2-seeded Oakland CC (Mich.).

DISTRICT C – Sweeping Des Moines Area CC (Iowa), Iowa Lakes Community College locked up a spot in the national tournament as the champions of District C with a 31-8 record. The Lakers are currently riding an 11-match win streak and have won 33-consecutive sets behind their dominant front line. Sophomore Le Mi, freshman Christy Wicks and sophomore Xiao Liang are ranked second, third and fourth in the nation in blocks per set. Despite receiving the top seed in last season’s tournament, Iowa Lakes suffered an unexpected loss in their second match and finished in fifth-place. The No. 3-seeded Lakers will start this season’s tournament against No. 14-seed Hagerstown CC (Md.).

DISTRICT D – For the first time since 2006, Iowa Central Community College will be participating in the national tournament. The Tritons are 44-6 after beating Kirkwood CC (Iowa) in four sets for the District D title. Freshman outside hitter Alicia Beras leads Iowa Central offensively, averaging 3.5 kills per set in 2011. In their first national tournament match in six years, the No. 9-seeded Tritons will square-off against No. 8-seed Central CC-Columbus (Neb.).

DISTRICT E – Oakland Community College (Mich.) enjoyed a three set sweep over Owens CC (Ohio) to clinch the District E title and their first ever appearance in the national tournament. At 38-3, the Raiders have had a successful 2011 campaign behind the direction of sophomore Lauren Maxwell. Averaging 13.1 assists per set, Maxwell is the top setter in Division II. Oakland received the No. 2-seed in the tournament and will take on No. 15-seed Prairie State College (Ill.) in the first round.

DISTRICT F – Returning to the national tournament, Grand Rapids Community College (Mich.) is the champions of District F after sweeping Muskegon CC (Mich.) in the title game. The 31-5 Raiders have won their last 15 matches dating back to the first day in October. Freshman setter Kaitlyn Wolters has dished out 9.3 assists per set this season, quarterbacking Grand Rapids’ attack. Last season’s ninth-place finish has the No. 10-seeded Raiders eager to make a deeper run this time around. They will play No. 7-seeded Illinois Central College in the first round.

DISTRICT G – Having to win two matches for the District G championship, Central Community College-Columbus(Neb.) did so in six-straight sets to earn a place in the national tournament. The Raiders swept North Dakota SCS in back-to-back matches to earn their first tournament appearance since 2008. Central-Columbus freshman setter Darian Erickson has displayed her consistency this season with 10.2 assists per set, fifth most in Division II. Going into the first round with a 30-9 record, the No. 8-seeded Raiders will face-off against No. 9-seed Iowa Central CC.

DISTRICT H – Outlasting Potomac State College (W.V.) in five sets, Hagerstown Community College (Md.) secured the District H championship and a spot in the national tournament. The Hawks have ripped off 11-straight victories and are 27-7 going into the tournament. Defensively, Hagerstown has four players averaging over three digs per set and are led by sophomore outside hitter Cortney Silvis with 3.5 per set. As the No. 14-seed, the Hawks will open their ninth-straight tournament against No. 3-seed Iowa Lakes CC.

DISTRICT I – Phoenix College (Ariz.) defeated Chandler-Gilbert CC (Ariz.) in four sets for the District I crown and their first appearance in the national tournament since 2007. Operating the Bears’ offense is freshman setter Kayla Kane. Phoenix is 19-8 this season with Kane averaging 9.1 assists per set. The No. 12-seeded Bears have a tough opening draw in the first round against No. 5-seed and defending national champion Pasco-Hernando CC (Fla.).

DISTRICT J – Appearing in the national tournament for the fourth-consecutive season, Parkland College (Ill.) won the District J championship with a five-set victory over Illinois Central College. With a disappointing finish in last season’s tournament, the Cobras will depend on sophomore setter Melanie Moore to push the team to its first national championship since the inaugural Division II tournament in 1999. Moore is averaging 9.8 assists per set this season, leading Parkland to a 38-7 record. In the first round, the No. 4-seeded Cobras will match-up with No. 13-seed MCC-Longview (Mo.). 

DISTRICT K – Despite falling in the District J championship match, Illinois Central College came back the next day to win the District K title with a four-set victory over Lincoln Land CC (Ill.). At 28-11, the Cougars are going to the national tournament for the eighth-consecutive season. Leading Illinois Central is the duo of sophomore Lindsay Herman and freshman Nichole Wagenbach. Both outside hitters are averaging a team-high 3.2 kills per set in 2011. Coming off a seventh-place finish last season after winning the national championship in 2009, No. 7-seed Illinois Central College will start this year’s tournament against No. 10-seed Grand Rapids CC (Mich.).

DISTRICT L – Headed back to the national tournament is Genesee Community College (N.Y.), the champions of District L. The Cougars earned the district crown and improved to 22-19 on the season by defeating Monroe College (N.Y.) in four sets. Thriving on their defensive play, Genesee boasts two of the top five diggers in Division II. Sophomore outside hitter Maria Antsupova ranks fourth in digs with 6.7 per set, while sophomore setter Kristie Barger ranks fifth with 6.7 per set. The Cougars were seeded again at No. 16, and will face top-seeded Cowley College (Kan.) in the first round.

DISTRICT M – Riding a 19-match win streak, Cowley College (Kan.) is headed for their seventh-consecutive national tournament after claiming the District M championship with a sweep of Highland CC (Kan.). Finishing third in last season’s tournament, the Tigers are relying on sophomore setter Molley Scanlon to land the school’s first national championship. Molley is Division II’s fourth-ranked setter, averaging 10.3 assists per set in 2011. Earning the top-seed in this year’s tournament, Cowley will play No. 16-seed Genesee CC (N.Y.) in their opening match.

DISTRICT N – Seeking the program’s second national championship, Johnson County Community College (Kan.) enters the national tournament with a 23-11 record and a District N title. The Cavaliers won the district championship with dominant sweep of Kansas City Kansas CC. Defensively, freshman libero Sara Slater leads Johnson County with 4.1 digs per set this season. After losing 15-12 in the fifth and deciding set of last year’s national championship match, the Cavaliers are aiming to go one step further as the No. 11-seed. In the first round, Johnson County will clash with No. 6-seed Kishwaukee College (Ill.).

DISTRICT O – Clinching the District O title and their first ever trip to the national tournament, MCC-Longview (Mo.) won a five-set thriller over East Central College (Mo.). Boasting a 20-13 record in 2011, the Lakers have relied on their defense to win matches this season. Freshman libero Taylor Carmichael leads four Laker players that are averaging over three digs per set. No. 13-seeded MCC-Longview is scheduled to play No. 4-seed Parkland College (Ill.) in the first round.

DISTRICT P – Defending national champion Pasco-Hernando Community College (Fla.) will have a chance to defend their title at this season’s national tournament. The Conquistadors are 31-9 this season after sweeping Surry CC (N.C.) for the District P championship. Averaging 6.0 digs per game, freshman libero Lindsey Watson has done a good job this season keeping the ball alive. Entering the tournament with the No. 5-seed, Pasco-Hernando will battle No. 12-seed Phoenix College (Ariz.) in the first round. 

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