It took 30 years for the Alfred State College volleyball program to return to the NJCAA National Championships but with a highly competitive victory over Jamestown CC (30-28, 25-22, 25-13), the Lady Pioneers will return to Rochester, MN for the second straight season. ASC will enter the tournament with a 36-3 mark.
Alfred State and Jamestown went back in forth in the first game before the Blue and Gold pulled it out, JCC led most of the way in game two but ASC rallied for the victory, and in game three the Lady Pioneers jumped out to a 6-0 lead and never looked back.
Tournament MVP Jenni Jerome (Syracuse/Westihill) finished with 13 digs, 11 kills, and one ace while all-tournament team selection Yurika Toyodome (Tokyo, Japan) had a team high 14 kills, 12 digs, and four blocks. Miki Inoue (Kumamoto, Japan) played solid defense with 25 digs, four kills, and a ace to earn all-tournament honors. Emily Linn (Portville) chipped in 12 kills and six digs, Breanna Horton (Owego Free) had 35 assists, eight digs, and five kills, and Christina Nolan (Niagara Wheatfield) finished with five digs.
Coach Gene Doorley was pleased with the intensity his players showed. "These girls again showed that they know how to compete. This tournament had some very good teams in it and we knew going in that we had to be ready to battle. They weathered some strong pushes from Jamestown and Mohawk today and found a way to keep coming out on top. In the finals we showed much more intensity all around, but especially on floor defense and blocking. The girls also showed more determination and focus on their side- out game which helped us maintain better control down the stretch."
"In the finals, we were pretty good start to finish and we able to keep pressure on them. We were aggressive serving, we sided out really well, and we played very good defense. We were able to accomplish just about everything we talked about going into this match. It takes composure to hit the ball in and finish, especially in tight situations, and we did a nice job with this especially in the first two games."
In the semifinals ASC defeated Mohawk Valley CC 25-19, 26-24, 25-12. In game two the Blue and Gold trailed 24-20 but rallied to score the final six points.
Toyodome led the way with 15 kills and nine digs while Linn chipped in 12 kills, three digs, and two blocks. Jerome finished with a team high 16 digs, five kills, and three aces, Inoue had 10 digs and eight kills, and Horton passed out 39 assists and was credited with seven digs and five kills.
The Region III Championship is the programs fourth overall (1976, 1977, 2007, and 2008). "This has been a very thrilling season and I think these ladies are excited to be representing Region III at the National Tournament."
Alfred State, currently ranked #7 in the latest NJCAA Division III, will learn their seeding for the NJCAA Division III Tournament early next week. National championship play begins on Friday, November 14 and runs until Saturday, November 15. All action will be played at University Center Rochester - Sports Center.
More information on the tournament can be found at: http://www.rochsports.org/2008njcaavolleyball.php