No. 2 DuPage ends Owens' streak at three to claim NJCAA national volleyball championship
Top-ranked Owens saw its bid to win a fourth straight Division III junior college volleyball championship denied as DuPage posted a 3-1 victory in the championship match.
ROCHESTER — Owens Community College volleyball coach Sonny Lewis told his team every day this season that they had a target on their back and that every team would be gunning for a win over the No. 1-seeded Express, knowing Owens won the last three NJCAA Division III national championships.
College of DuPage, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, had its eyes on that championship trophy from the second the ball sailed over the net.
That determination showed, the Chaparrals beating Owens 3-1 to hoist the trophy Saturday night at Rochester Regional Sports Center. It was the third NJCAA Division III volleyball title for DuPage, which won the match 25-21, 22-25, 25-18, 25-18.
“We got outplayed tonight in this final match,” Lewis said. “DuPage stepped up and played really, really well.”
The loss is the first Owens has suffered in the postseason since moving to Division III four years ago, and just the fourth postseason loss in the last seven seasons.
DuPage (32-3) edged the Express in kills, hitting percentage, assists and blocks.
"We have a team that once we get into a tough spot, they find a way to work out of it and turn it into an advantage,'' DuPage coach Tolis Koskinaris said. "It happened again tonight. They made it fun and played with a ton of composure.''
Chloey Myers and Alyssa Fountain were both stellar at the net for DuPage as each player tallied 19 kills. Myers was named the MVP of the tournament.
DuPage ibero Cyd Martinez played, "her best match of the season" according to Koskinaris. She had 32 digs and helped set up the offense, along with setter Ashley Bylsma, who had 40 assists.
"Chloey and Alyssa get the share of accolades, but unsung heroes like Cyd and Ashley were so locked in,'' Koskinaris said. "Cyd was unbelievable in her reads, and Ashley played so well in the biggest moment of her athletic life.''
The Express (29-7) head back to Ohio as the second-best team in the country, something that sophomore outside hitter Maddie White and her team will hang onto.
White had a great tournament herself — putting up 14 kills, 38 digs and three block assists in 10 sets — which earned her a spot on the all-tournament team.
“It's a huge goal of mine to be on that list of all-tournament team,” White said. “It means a lot to see someone else recognize all the hard work that I put in.”