CASPER, WYO. – One of the best seasons in Wallace State volleyball program history came to an end Friday. The Lions were eliminated at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I national championship, losing to Mineral Area (Mo.) College, 18-25, 25-21, 19-25, 21-25.
Wallace State, the tournament’s 12th seed, closes the season with a 38-4 record. The Lions made their eighth consecutive national tournament appearance and a state-best 16th overall.
Freshman Kaylee Maddox paced the Lions in the loss, finishing with 13 digs and 11 kills. Sophomore MaKenzie Bearden had a team-high 16 kills in her final match with Wallace State, Alicia Charles finished with 10 kills, Abby Borden racked up 42 assists and seven digs and Emily Wilson had 11 digs.
Friday’s match was tight throughout.
Mineral Area, which avenged a loss to Wallace State from earlier this season, won the first set by seven points – the largest lead it maintained all afternoon.
Wallace State seized control in the second set, surging out to a 6-0 lead. Mineral Area battled back and tied the set at 10-all. Wallace State answered by tallying the next five points and won by a five-point margin.
In the third set, the teams shared 10 early ties. Mineral Area (26-8) broke the final tie, gaining a 12-11 edge, and closed it on a 13-8 push.
In the fourth and final set, Mineral Area grabbed an early advantage, leading 13-9. With Maddox serving, Wallace State scored four consecutive points to tie things at 13-all. Mineral Area scored the next three points and never trailed again. Wallace State closed its deficit to as few as three points late in the set.
Mineral Area, the No. 13 seed, was led by Cailey Bracken’s 20 kills and 19 digs. Jane Kickham added 17 kills and 10 digs.
Wallace State dropped its tournament opener to Salt Lake Community College on Thursday.
Friday’s match was the final one at Wallace State for Bearden, Charles, Cierra Davis, Kelsea Bivins, August Newberry, Tara Miller, Holly Posey, Jamie Pittman and McCall Morrow.
The majority of the sophomore class were part of two conference championships and 77 wins in two seasons at Wallace State.
Bivins, the 2016 ACCC Player of the Year, led the conference in kills (412) and was second in hitting percentage.
Davis was the 2016 ACCC tournament MVP and a 1st-team All-ACCC/Region 22 selection after recording 340 digs and 306 kills. Bearden, also a 1st-team All-ACCC/Region selection, led the conference in hitting percentage and blocks and was second in kills.
Borden and Wilson, both freshmen, were 2nd-team All-ACCC/Region 22 selections after leading the league in assists and digs respectively.
Other members of Wallace State’s 2016 team not previously mentioned are Jessica Lucio, Kati Thomas, Macy Smith and Caroline Gann.
Wallace State coach Randy Daniel now has 370 career victories after 10 seasons at Wallace State.
For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit http://athletics.wallacestate.edu/
Wallace State Community College
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