RCTC settles for fourth at national tournament
It wasn't the finish the Rochester Community and Technical College volleyball team had hoped to achieve at the Division III NJCAA National Tournament.
After entering as the No. 2 seed and winning in the quarterfinals, the Yellowjackets lost a pair of tough five-set matches over the weekend to place fourth in the 12-team event.
The Yellowjackets saw their dreams of winning a Division III national championship end in the semifinals for the second straight season on Friday as the second-seeded Yellowjackets suffered a narrow 3-2 loss to No. 3 Columbus State at Rochester Regional Sports Center.
"It's very hard, but I'm very proud of how we played," RCTC coach Amber Zitzow said. "We played with heart, we did not give up; it's just a really tough loss."
Columbus State rallied for a 11-25, 25-21, 20-25-20, 25-19, 15-11 victory.
"Yeah, I think it's more frustrating this year because I know how badly we worked for this and how badly we wanted it," RCTC sophomore outside hitter Carrie Rutledge said.
RCTC entered as the No. 2 seed in the tournament and ranked second in the nation. Columbus State (28-9) is the No. 3 seed.
"I'd say this is more frustrating," RCTC sophomore setter Brekkin McCready said. "Just because two vs. three (seed), we just wanted to pull off a big win. We had a bunch of fans there supporting (us)."
In the third-place match on Saturday, the Yellowjackets once again managed to take a 2-1 set lead only to see their foe rally for the win. No. 4 Brookhaven claimed third by beating RCTC 25-13, 20-25, 15-25, 25-22, 15-11.
Rutledge led RCTC's attack at the net in all three tournament games. After collecting 23 kills in the quarterfinals, she had 23 kills in the loss to Columbus State and 25 in the setback to Brookhaven.
"We're all disappointed, but we should all be proud of ourselves with how hard we played," Rutledge said.
Sophomore Hayley Dessner had 13 kills in the semifinals and 21 in the third-place match. McCready had 41 set assists in the semifinals and 46 in the third-place match.
"It's been an amazing season," McCready said. "The best team I've ever been on."
RCTC finishes the season 31-4.
Owens claimed the national title for the second straight season as it defeated Columbus State 3-0 in the championship match Saturday.
Columbus State 3, RCTC 2
Columbus State: Bobby Diamond 28 kills; 11 digs; Audrey Jenkins 5 kills, 36 assists, 22 digs; Tate Rybarczyk 32 digs; Tiziana Russell 6 kills.
RCTC: Brekkin McCready 2 kills, 41 assists, 13 digs; Carrie Rutledge 23 kills, 17 digs; Kate Bade 19 digs; AnnMarie Jalmasco 2 kills; Hayley Dessner 13 kills, 15 digs; Jessica Storm 15 digs; Olivia Fredin 3 kills; Molly Kleist 6 kills.
Brookhaven 3, RCTC 2
Brookhaven: Laurissa Zavala 24 kills; Yasmin Miller 12 kills; 13 digs; Kaitlyn Wood 13 kills; Cindee Howard 29 digs; Morgan Frisby 48 assists, 15 digs; Jennifer Moyer 13 digs.
RCTC: Brekkin McCready 2 kills, 46 assists, 15 digs; Carrie Rutledge 25 kills, 15 digs; Kate Bade 24 digs; AnnMarie Jalmasco 2 kills; Hayley Dessner 21 kills, 11 digs; Jessica Storm 17 digs; Olivia Fredin 5 kills; Molly Kleist 4 kills.