SCC Flyers Headed To Nationals
The Sandhills Community College volleyball team is Minnesota bound.
The Lady Flyers swept Bergen Community College (N.J.) 25-7, 25-16, 25-21 Saturday to win the NJCAA Division III District H championship on their home floor at Heins Gymnasium.
With the victory, the Flyers qualified for the NJCAA Division III Championship in Rochester, Minn., on Nov. 11-13. It was Sandhills’ 10th straight win as it brings a record of 21-6 into the eight-team NJCAA national tournament.
Sophomore captain Miranda Love helped the Flyers get out to a quick start in Saturday’s district final, tallying six kills in first game.
“This is just unbelievable,” Love said. “I thought it felt good to win our region, but this is just an awesome feeling to know we are district champs and are now heading to the nationals.”
Sandhills won the Region 10 championship in dramatic fashion, coming back from a 2-1 deficit in the title match to top Davidson Community College and advance on to the district finals.
Love was named the Division III Region 10 player of the year in the regional tournament contested in Sanford at Central Carolina Community College.
In Sandhills’ three-set district title victory, she was again on top of her game, finishing with 18 kills and 19 digs Saturday.
“We have been working extremely hard and have been really dedicated,” Love said, “so I think we deserve it.”
SCC head coach Alicia Hill, who was named the Region 10 coach of the year, said her team took some added measures in their preparation for the District H championship.
“We did something different to get ready for this one,” Hill said. “The team came in early in the morning before this match at 9 a.m. and did a walk-through practice. It was the girls’ idea, because we typically do not play our best on Saturday mornings, so in the end I guess you can say it paid off big time.”
After taking the opening game 25-7, Sandhills again jumped out to a big lead in the second set. With the score 12-10 Samantha Morgan stepped back to the service line. The Flyers then won eight straight points on her serve to build a hefty 20-10 advantage and soon won the game 25-16.
Sandhills’ other two all-regional players also delivered big time in the match for the Flyers. Sophomore captain Sarah Thomas had three aces and four service winners along with three blocks and five kills. Meanwhile, freshman Paige Horne finished with a match-high 23 assists and four aces.
“We performed really well today,” Horne said. “Everybody came out ready to play — we knew what we needed to do to and we did it. As a team I believe we felt we could get here; even still, this is truly amazing.”
The Flyers have been on a roll ever since they defeated conference rival Brunswick Community College in a pivotal five-set Region 10 home match. Since taking the floor on that fateful night, Sandhills has claimed two tournament championships and has won 27 games out of the total 36 it has played over that span.
According to Love, the key to the Flyers’ recent run has been the team’s belief in their abilities and potential.
“Once we proved to ourselves that we could win, it has been like dominoes,” she said. “The victories seem to keep happening and happening so long as we work hard, and now we still have some more hard work remaining as we look toward the national tournament.”
Hill agreed that things have been flowing well for her team of late and was impressed with their play against the Bergen Bulldogs in the district final.
“It still has not hit me yet that we are going to Minnesota,” Hill said after Saturday’s match. “I feel like I was way more excited last weekend. I guess it was because that was such a big accomplishment. As for this win, in a way it is like this was expected — I mean we fully expected to go to nationals.
“The girls were looking forward to this big time and they are really excited. They deserve to be excited too. Each one of them has earned it through their efforts in practice, workouts and matches all year long.”
The next time Sandhills takes the floor will be on Nov. 12 at the national tournament.
“This has been on the back of all our minds since the first practice on Aug. 2,” Hill said. “All season long, this group of girls has really risen to the challenge every step of the way. So as a program we are beyond proud and pumped to be going to the nationals.”
Along with Horne, Love, Thomas and Samantha Morgan, the other members of the District H champion Sandhills Flyers include Mandy Blair, Michelle Brown, Jessica Marion, Katie McKenzie, Shana Morgan, Alisha Ritter and Kathleen Wood.
Contact F.W. Manning II at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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