COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa The Salt Lake Community College Lady Bruins volleyball team placed third at the NJCAA volleyball tournament with a 30-27, 24-30, 30-26, 30-25 win over the Frank Phillips College Plainsmen on Saturday.
The Lady Bruins were ranked No. 1 in the nation heading into the Iowa tourney and had hoped to take it all, but they ran into a relentless Western Nebraska Cougars squad in the semifinals. The Bruins finish their season with a 44-2 record, and their only two losses came against Western Nebraska.
"We bounced back from yesterday. This team really wanted to finish on a win," SLCC coach Shay Goulding said. "We had some slow moments, but all and all it was a great match."
In the first game, the Bruins never trailed, continuously staying one to two points ahead for the duration. It was the opposite story in the second game, however. The Plainsmen jumped ahead to a 14-5 lead, and the Bruins could never climb out of the hole, eventually losing by six.
SLCC had an 8-7 lead in the third game when Franks Phillips College went on an 11-4 run to go ahead 18-12. The Bruins retaliated with a massive 9-1 run of their own to take the 21-19 lead and eventually the win.
"In the third game, it was all momentum, and we started blocking better," Goulding said. "Hailey Barner came in and made some key blocks on the right side to really help out."
In the fourth and final match-clinching game, the Bruins jumped out to a 15-8 lead and then cruised to the comfortable win.
"The best part is that everyone got to play and everyone contributed," coach Goulding said.
For the second match in a row, four Bruins Cinthia Silva, Samantha Richard, Talita Santos and Tela Burnett tallied double-figure kills. Silva led SLCC with 17 kills, three blocks and one ace, while Richard contributed 15 kills, 17 digs and one ace. Santos was right behind with 14 kills and three blocks and Burnett added 11 kills. Setter Misa Hanakova continued her remarkable tournament with 59 assists, 11 digs and four kills, while libero Morgan Lloyd accumulated 22 digs, just three off the career-high number she set in Friday's match.
"The girls have had a tremendous season, and I'm just proud to have been a part of it," Goulding said.