Volleyball: RCTC falls short of goal

So much for the anticipated matchup between No. 1 and No. 2 for the NJCAA Division III national championship at the UCR Regional Sports Center.

RCTC's Natalie Reinardy digs a kill attempt during a semifinal match of the NJCAA Division III national volleyball tournament against Lorain Community College on Friday at UCR Regional Sports Center. The Yellowjackets fell to Lorain 3-1 and will play for third place today.

So much for the anticipated matchup between No. 1 and No. 2 for the NJCAA Division III national championship at the UCR Regional Sports Center.

That was to have been top seed and defending national champion Madison College against crowd favorite and No. 2 Rochester Community and Technical College.

After digging itself into a deep, deep hole, Madison College rallied past No. 5 Brookhaven College of Texas in a five-set semifinal Friday while RCTC was derailed by Lorain County Community College of Ohio in four sets.

"Our goal was to play for the national championship," said Yellowjackets coach Amber Zitzow, "and we fell short of that goal.

"I'll tell you this, there are a lot of tears in that locker room."


Madison (29-3) will play Lorain (28-11) at 2:30 p.m. today for the national title. RCTC (29-4) takes on Brookhaven (16-20) in a third-place match at 1 p.m.

The Yellowjackets rolled up 15 straight wins since losing to Madison on Sept. 20 at the Harper College Invitational in Illinois.

"There was a lot of pressure on us," said Zitzow. "Did that affect us? Who knows."

In the quarterfinal, RCTC defeated No. 7 Davidson in three sets and beat Lorain 25-19 in the first set of the semifinal.

Then the wheels came off. Lorain rattled off wins of 25-21, 25-23 and 27-25. The Yellowjackets were close, but close was not good enough.

"At times we played like we were afraid to lose," said Zitzow. "We started out great but then, I don't know, we just didn't execute. Lorain played great, they're very good."

Ted Whitsel is in his first year as Lorain coach.

"I inherited a pretty good team," he said, "and I knew we had a lot of talent."


The Commodores finished fourth in 2011, their only other national tournament appearance.

After a 12-hour trip from its home in Elyria, Ohio, Lorain arrived in Rochester late Thursday afternoon just in time for the tournament banquet.

Then the Commodores needed five sets to eliminate Central Lakes in the quarterfinals and played four tough sets against the hometown favorite.

"It was a long, long day, but we are where we wanted to be," Whitsel said. "That wasn't us playing that first set (against RCTC), ''but we were able to find some holes in their game and played a whole lot better after that."

Meanwhile, Madison made short work of Fashion Institute of Technology (New York City) in the quarterfinal (3-0) but then ran into a buzzsaw in the semifinal against the Brookhaven Bears of Farmers Branch, Texas.

The Bears won the first two sets — 25-18 and 25-22 — and were even leading 16-13 in the third.

"I've been doing this (coaching) for 27 years now,'' coach Toby Parker said, "and I've never been through anything like this one before. Ever.

"We had more than our backs up against the wall. Down two, and seemingly out of it, these girls showed their stuff. Some of the experience we gained from last year, I think helped us down the stretch."


For RCTC, Brianna Atkins finished with 22 kills and 10 digs. Danielle Adams had 10 digs and 9 kills, Jessica Foster 13 digs, Natalie Reinardy 24 digs and Amberlee Dunagan 19 digs and 50 set assists.

The Yellowjackets had a .180 hitting percentage and according to Zitzow, that was one of their lowest totals of the season.


National championship



Madison 3, Fashion I.T. 0

RCTC 3, Davidson County 0


Lorain County 3, Central Lakes 2

Brookhaven 3, Monroe Community College 0


Madison 3, Brookhaven 2

Lorain County 3, RCTC 1


Monroe 3, FIT 0

Central Lakes 3, Davidson 0


Today's schedule

Seventh place

FIT vs. Davidson, 10 a.m.

Fifth place

Monroe vs. Central Lakes, 10 a.m.

Third place

RCTC vs. Brookhaven, 1 p.m.



Madison (29-3) vs. Lorain Community College (28-11), 2:30 p.m.

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