Red Hawks make history with 3rd NJCAA tourney win

Red Hawks make history with 3rd NJCAA tourney win

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — For the first time in program history, the Catawba Valley Community College volleyball team ended a season victorious.

The 10th-seeded Red Hawks (36-10) ousted No. 13 seed Moraine Valley (31-8) in the ninth-place match on Saturday at the Charleston Civic Center, earning their program-record third win during the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) DII tournament.

Set scores were 25-23, 25-22 and 25-20

Tenth-year Catawba Valley head volleyball coach Shannon Hudson is proud of her players for bouncing back from an opening defeat to drop just one set during the next three matches en route to earning their three-straight wins.

"After our first loss, we came out with a new goal to go 3-for-3 and be the winningest team in CVCC history at the national tournament, and they did it,' Hudson said. "They played really well, especially today. They put everything together and played as a team. I'm just really excited and proud of how they played all year long, but to finish like this with a win at the national tournament was just such a privilege for me as a coach."

Rachel Delcamp paced the the Red Hawks in their ninth-place match victory, driving down a team-high 10 kills, and teammates Emma Clark (nine kills and six blocks) and Sage Harrington (eight kills and three blocks) weren't far behind.

Setters Emilee Webber and Macy Pope helped anchor the Catawba Valley attack with 15 and 13 assists, respectively.

On defense, Emily Williams and Meredith Patterson both recorded 12 digs and Madison Bolch added 10 digs.

For her play at the event, Clark — who was also named the Region X Player of the Year and All-Region X first team earlier this fall — was selected as an all-tournament team member.

The 6-foot-1 middle hitter from Boone, N.C. received a special medal following CVCC's 3-0 victory against Moraine Valley — the program's second-ever win against the Cyclones in national tournament history.

"Emma is such a selfless player," Hudson said. "She works hard. She is always encouraging her teammates. She's come in early. She has put in extra reps. She just puts it all out there on the court. I'm really excited for her to be honored today for all that effort all year, especially for her play in the tournament."

For her returning sophomores, including Clark, Hudson believes that playing in three-straight days of competition will be beneficial for them heading into the 2019 season.

"They got to play on Saturday — the big day," she said. "The arena is set up totally differently. They put the one big court in the middle. It's just a different feel. It's championship day. For them to get to play all weekend and lead up to kind of the culmination of the tournament and get a big win on the final day of the national tournament is huge. Talk about experience. They played as many games as anybody at the tournament has played. To come out with three wins and get all of that experience going into our season next year — you just can't describe how much that does for a young program."

Saturday's match was the final in the careers of four Catawba Valley sophomores — Webber, Williams and outside hitters Karsyn Mundy and Na-Diea Atkins.

Hudson said that all four players were key this season in helping drive a young Red Hawks squad to reaching its full potential.

"We've talked all year about having a young group and all these freshmen, but sometimes we forget to talk about our sophomore leadership," Hudson said. "They are just selfless, hard-working players who did the little things right all year to make us better as a team. I couldn't ask for anything more from our sophomores."