The sixth-seeded Catawba Valley Community College volleyball team split its first two matches at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) DII National Championship on Tuesday afternoon at the Alliant Energy Powerhouse Arena in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The Red Hawks (21-3) won their opening match against No. 11 seed North Platte (Neb.) before falling to third-seeded Iowa Central in the tournament quarterfinals.
First round: No. 6 Catawba Valley 3, No. 11 North Platte 1
For just the second time in program history and first time since 2016, the Red Hawks won their national tournament opener with a four-set victory against the Knights.
Set scores were 25-15, 25-16, 22-25 and 25-16.
Outside hitter Aasia McNeill led the Red Hawks with a team-high 16 kills, while fellow outside hitter Carter Gibson added 13 kills.
Setter Amber Barker tallied a team-best 35 assists and five aces — part of a 10-ace performance by Catawba Valley, which including three from defensive specialist Abbey Smith.
On defense, libero Caitlin Dailey recorded a team-high 25 digs.
Quarterfinals: No. 3 Iowa Central 3, No. 6 Catawba Valley 0
The Red Hawks battled fiercely, but fell in straight sets to the Tritons in the national quarterfinals.
Set scores were 18-25, 14-25 and 24-26.
Outside hitters Carter Gibson and Aasia McNeill led the Catawba Valley attack with 12 and 10 kills, respectively, while setter Amber Barker aided the CVCC offense with 25 assists and both of her team’s two aces.
Libero Caitlin Dailey once again led the Red Hawks in digs with 10, while McNeill recorded eight.
The Red Hawks are back in action in consolation play at the national championship on Wednesday.
CVCC faces No. 10 seed Sauk Valley (15-8) — the Midwest A champion — at 3:30 p.m. EST/2:30 CST. The match will be streamed on the NJCAA Network at www.njcaa.org/network and live stats from the game will be on www.gocvcc.com.