The North Platte Community College Knights volleyball team is the 2018 National Junior College Athletic Association Region IX Division II volleyball champions.
The Knights defeated the Central Community College Raiders is straight sets, 25-17, 25-23, and 25-20 to claim their fifth Region IX Division II title in school history.
The Knights won the first game of the match by starting out on a 3-1 score. The Raiders came back to take a 7-6 lead, but the Knights went on a 13-8 run to regain the lead at 19-15.
Luisa Hernandez Marin from Yuma, Colo., went to the service line and scored four points to stretch the Knights lead to 23-15. After three sideouts, Taylin McNair from Imperial, finished off the match with a kill.
In game two, the Raiders jumped out to a 14-3 lead. The Knights started to whittle away at the lead by going on a 15-4 run to tie the score at 18. McNair served five of the points during the run.
Shaylee Johnson from Fleming, Colo., served the Knights to a 21-19 lead and the Knights never trailed again in game 2.
In game three, the Raiders led 7-6, but the Knights never gave up. They went on a 12-6 run to take am 18-13 lead. The Raiders did pull within two at 18-16, but the Knights never relinquished the lead and won the title.
Gabby Menghini, a graduate of North Platte High School, led the Knights with 13 kills, including five in game one. Hernandez Marin added 12 kills and nine defensive digs. Bailey Chintala from Fleming, Colo., led the Knights with 14 defensive digs. McNair had 35 set assists to lead the Knights in that category.
“I’m so proud of this team- they worked hard in practice all week and we made some tough changes but they all bought in and did whatever they could for the team,” Knights Head Coach Alexa McCall said. “It was truly a team effort. They fought so hard in these games and to see the grit they showed -especially in set 2 being down 10 points and coming back is truly showing how much they wanted it. We have some tough games next weekend and but I think if they play like they did today I believe we can do it.
The Knights will host North Dakota School of Science, the winners of Region 13 on November 2-3 in a best of three series. The winner of that series will advance to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II National Tournament in Charleston, West Va.
McCall also said that she wants to thank the people that came out and supported us! We had great crowd support all weekend!