CASPER, WYO.– Wallace State’s five-time defending state champion volleyball team had its season end Friday at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I national championship tournament in Casper, Wyo.
Wallace State, making its state-best 14th national tournament appearance and fifth in a row, lost 14-25, 8-25, 18-25 to seventh-seeded Central Florida College at the Casper Events Center.
The Lions (30-17) started off strongly in the first and third sets, maintaining early leads, but Central Florida battled back each time, securing its sweep.
“Central Florida College is very good. We were just outmatched. Their size and strength gave us a lot of trouble. It’s been a struggle for us to win here, but as a whole, I’m proud of our team. Winning 30 matches with 11 freshmen is nothing to be ashamed of,” said Wallace State coach Randy Daniel, who wrapped up his seventh season with the Lions. “Our team played well when it mattered most at our region tournament, so you have to be happy with our success.
“Our freshmen earned a lot of valuable experience, and you hope that is a good sign for the future going forward. Some of our freshmen are going to be very good players next season, so I’m definitely excited about those prospects.”
Sophomore Kianna Delaney had five kills and four digs in her final match for Wallace State. BreAnna Thompson finished with five kills and five digs for the Lions, Montana Clark had six digs and Taylor Traglia added a team-high 17 assists and six digs.
Central Florida College (27-13) was led by Raveen Golston’s 11 digs and 10 kills. The Patriots, who have natives of Poland, Brazil, Spain and Puerto Rico on their roster, had team totals of 43 digs and 39 kills against the Lions.
Wallace State, a No. 15 seed, lost its tournament opener to No.2 Tyler (Texas) College on Thursday.
Delaney and Nicole Penny wrapped up their two-year careers with the Lions on Friday. The duo was a part of 53 wins, two state championships and a pair of national tournament appearances.
Delaney, a Chattanooga, Tenn. native, had an exceptional sophomore campaign. She was named the 2013 ACCC/Region 22 tournament MVP and the ACCC Player of the Year for her efforts during the regular season. Delaney led the conference in three categories, tallying 427 kills, 119 blocks and 3.16 kills per set and was also second in the conference with a .347 hitting percentage.
“Kianna has been such a good player for us for two years. It speaks a lot considering how much she has done as person here and how much she cares for me, the program and her teammates,” Daniel said. “Kianna is successful on and off the court because of her character and is going to be missed. She is like a daughter, and it’s going to an adjustment not having her on the court next year.”
Penny was second on the team with 460 assists this season after earning All-Tournament and second-team All-Region honors last season.
Blaise Brown, who transferred from Snead State last offseason, was the only other sophomore on this season’s roster.
For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit wallacestate.edu.
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