Thursday, August 24, 2023

MCC Centurions volleyball wins in weekend tournament opener

The Montcalm Community College Centurions picked up their first program win Aug. 20, bouncing back after dropping the first three matches at the Opening Weekend Tournament in National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) league action in Rockford, Ill.

Kara Youngs, who is the head coach for the volleyball team, was pleased with how the team finished the tournament.

“We took on a nationally ranked team and had some challenges day one, but we came back day two finishing strong with a five-set win. Each game we got stronger on the court and really started to pull together the court chemistry. It was an eventful weekend ending in a sweet victory,” Youngs said.

MCC faced McHenry County College, who is ranked No. 8 in the NJCAA DII Pre-Season poll and fell 17-25, 10-25, 21-25. Against McHenry, Freshman Maia Sexton, of Sidney, and Freshman, Lauren Rowe, of Portland, both recorded a team high of six kills apiece. Setting up the offense was Freshman setter Tiana Whitacre, of Sheridan, who recorded 12 assists.  Leading the defense was Freshman Libero Lily Bohen, of Sheridan, who picked up seven digs and Freshman Middle Blocker Abbey Pohl, of Portland, with a match high four blocks.

The Centurions concluded the first day of play against Southeastern Community College and fell 10-25, 20-25, 14-25. The Centurions were led by Freshman Lauren Rowe who picked up seven kills and 11 digs, followed by Freshman Abbey Pohl, who recorded five kills of her own, paired with two blocks. Setting up the offense was Tiana Whitacre who led the Centurions in assists with 15. Defensively, Lily Bohen matched Rowe's team high of 11 digs while picking up a pair of service aces to lead the Centurions.

On Sunday, MCC faced Carl Sandburg College, where Freshman Lauren Rowe shined recording 12 kills while hitting .429 and adding seven digs. Freshman McKenna Nash, of Lowell, led the team defensively, picking up a match high of 13 digs, while Freshman Middle Blocker Kelsey Antcliff, of Greenville, picked up a team high of two blocks. Tiana Whitacre led the team in assists with 22, while also picking up a team high, three service aces. 

The fourth and final match of the tournament for the Centurions was an exciting finish, as MCC dropped the first two sets against South Suburban College with scores of 18-25, 25-27 and came back to win sets three, four and five with scores of 25-23, 25-21 and 16-14, to secure the programs first win. Freshman Lauren Rowe recorded her first career double-double, recording 12 kills while picking up 17 digs. Freshman Tiana Whitacre recorded a triple-double, as she put away 10 kills, while picking up 33 assists and 11 digs. Freshman Abbey Pohl contributed with strong blocking at the net, as she picked up eight block assists and two solo blocks. Defensively, Lily Bohen picked up 26 digs in the final match of the day, paired with seven assists.

Freshman Setter Tiana Whitacre described the Opening Weekend Tournament as an awesome opportunity to kick off the season.

“I think we played super well holding our own against really strong teams. We had to find our groove, but it’s really starting to come together and I’m excited to see the progress we make this season. We got to experience some team bonding and even celebrate a couple birthdays! Bringing home our first win was super exciting and felt like a huge accomplishment after putting in all the hours in the gym over the last couple of weeks,” Whitacre said.

The Centurions look to continue their winning streak as they will head to Livonia on Aug. 25 to compete in the Schoolcraft Ocelot Tri where they will take on the Kellog Bruins at 4 p.m. and the Schoolcraft Ocelots at 6 p.m.

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