Courtesy Daily Nonpareil Staff
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Iowa Western earned a fifth-place finish at the NJCAA National Tournament following Saturday's 25-21, 24-26, 25-14, 17-25, 18-16 victory over Hillsborough.
The Reivers finished their season with a 31-10 record.
The Reivers traded wins and losses in every set Saturday. In the decisive fifth set, a Kortlyn Henderson kill evened the score at 15-15. A Kelsey Havel kill gave the Reivers a 16-15 advantage before Hillsborough evened the score following an IWCC attack error.
"In the fifth set, we were down 8-4, and we made a couple hustle plays to get back into it, but I think what really solidified things was at 12-12, we made a running play into our team's chairs and got the ball back, then had two really great digs after that, and it ended with a block," IWCC coach Alicia Williams said. "I think our girls were just like, 'No, we're not going to lose this now.' Then we played really aggressive and confident and we came out on top."
"Obviously, it's not first, but to be able to claim that we're top five in the nation is always kind of nice," Williams said.
"It's amazing because this team has been a little mentally up and down all year. I feel like this weekend we were tough as nails. Even when we lost to Miami Dade, we played them really tough and were really aggressive. I never felt like we really broke mentally. We talked about that for the two weeks prior leading up to this weekend. I felt like they really just gave me their best effort in that regard. Their mentality was rock solid all weekend."
Iowa Western (31-10) 25 24 25 17 18
Hillsborough 21 26 14 25 16
IW (Kills-aces-blocks): Kelsey Havel (12-0-2), Genesis Sheridan (15-0-4), Reka Kotorman (2-3-3), Kortlyn Henderson (25-0-2), Gracie Teeter (7-0-3), Leah Palensky (1-0-0), Isabela Sarti (8-0-2). Assists: Kotorman 57, Bryn Stansberry 6. Digs: Lauren Walenz 24, Stansberry 21, Palensky 20, Havel 16, Kotorman 15.