The Catawba Valley Community College volleyball team finished its appearance at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) DII Championship on Thursday at the Alliant Energy Powerhouse Arena with an eighth-place national finish.
The sixth-seeded Red Hawks fell to host sixth-seeded Kirkwood in straight sets (15-25, 22-25, 19-25), finishing their season with a 21-5 overall record.
“I’m very proud of these girls fighting through so much adversity not just on the court, but off of it throughout this unique season,” said first-year CVCC head volleyball coach Madison Pogue. “They have overcome more in one year than most do in their lifetime and to go through all of that and still finish number eight in the nation is incredible.”
Sophomores Aasia McNeill and Amber Barker led the Red Hawks in their season finale. McNeill tallied nine kills and seven digs, while Barker recorded eight kills and 25 assists.
Defensively, CVCC redshirt-freshman libero Caitlin Dailey tallied a team-best 22 digs — her 10th 20-plus dig game this season and third of the national tournament.
The eighth-place finish is the second highest for the Red Hawks at nationals behind their fourth-place finish in 2016.
“Although we did not finish the way we wanted it doesn’t take away from the incredible talent that these girls have and their dedication to better each teammate around them,” Pogue said. “I will miss all of our sophomores tremendously and appreciate their positive attitude and strong leadership they had on our team and coaching staff this season. It has been a blessing to be able to coach this special group of young women and I know they will continue to do amazing things in the future.”