CASPER, WYO. – Wallace State’s volleyball team dropped its National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I national championship opener Thursday, losing 22-25, 14-25, 16-25 to 5th-seeded Salt Lake Community College at the Casper Events Center.
Wallace State, the tournament’s 12th seed, battled the Bruins tough during the first set, overcoming deficits of 6-2 and 18-13. The Lions rallied to tie the set at 20-20 before Salt Lake closed it with a 5-2 surge.
Salt Lake CC jumped out to an early lead in the second set and didn’t let the Lions (38-3) threaten. Wallace State hung around again in the third set. Salt Lake pulled away, however, after the teams were tied at 5-all and built as much as an eight-point advantage.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t finish in the first set. You never know what might have happened after that. We played better when we fought back, but we made too many errors defensively,” said Wallace State coach Randy Daniel, whose team lost only its third match of the season.
Wallace State, which is making its eighth consecutive national tournament appearance and a state-best 16th overall, was led in the loss by sophomore Cierra Davis, who finished with 10 kills and 10 digs.
Kelsea Bivins had 11 kills for Wallace State, freshman Abby Borden had 23 assists, Emily Wilson racked up 15 digs, Holly Posey had 10 digs and nine assists, Alicia Charles finished with six kills and Kaylee Maddox added five kills.
To’a Faleao had a game-high 18 kills for Salt Lake, which boasts a school enrollment nearly seven times that of Wallace State. Thamyres Fuchs collected a game-high 21 digs for the Bruins.
Wallace State will look to keep its season alive on Friday in the double-elimination event. The Lions play Mineral Area (Mo.) College at 1 p.m. CST. Wallace State swept the Cardinals in three sets earlier this season.
Wallace State is looking to win its first match in the tournament since 2010.
“I told the team that they need to come out, rebound and win a couple of matches Friday to be considered one of the best in program history,” Daniel said.
For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit http://athletics.wallacestate.edu/
Wallace State sophomore Holly Posey sets up a teammate Thursday in their NJCAA Division I opener against Salt Lake Community College.
Wallace State’s Kelsea Bivins (3) skies to record one of her 11 kills in Thursday’s match vs. Salt Lake CC.
Wallace State sophomore Cierra Davis collects a dig in the Lions’ NJCAA Division I national championship opener on Thursday.
Wallace State Community College
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