(Charleston, WV) – The 2019 season for Waubonsee Community College's volleyball team came to an end in the second round of the 16-team, double-elimination NJCAA Division II National Tournament. The 13th seeded Chiefs dropped a hard fought battle against fifth-seeded Catawba Valley (NC) Community College three games to one to finish the year with a 24-17 record overall. The Red Hawks, who improved to 33-5 overall, now move on to play ninth-seeded Kirkwood (IA) Community College in another elimination contest later today.
Waubonsee won a thrilling first game 26-24 before Catawba Valley took the next three games 25-19, 25-21 and 25-22 to knock the Chiefs out of the tournament. Waubonsee, the Region IV District A Champions making the program's second ever appearance at the National Tournament, dropped their opening match on Thursday in three straight games to fourth-seeded Fort Scott (KS) Community College. Service errors, which hampered the aggressive minded Chiefs throughout the season, were a key contributor in both losses.
Waubonsee's Sydney Fedderly ended a long volley with a kill on the opening point of the match. The Chiefs eventually took a 4-1 lead and went up 5-2 when Gabrielle Dlabal rose up for a power spike in the middle of the net. Moments later a block by Alyssa Gittins and another by Dlabal staked Waubonsee to a 10-7 lead. The Red Hawks battled back to take a 14-13 lead before a kill by Anna Friedlund tied the game at 16. The game remained tied at 20 until Dlabal registered another block to put the Chiefs in front. After a Catawba Valley timeout they came back to tie it at 22 and took the lead a moment later. Rebecca Robinson then recorded a kill to tie the game. A Chiefs' block attempt went out of bounds to set up a potential game point for the Red Hawks. Waubonsee head coach Steve Kish then called timeout to settle his crew down. Not long after Sydni Coultrip tied it with a perfectly placed return tap along the left sideline. The Chiefs then won it as Dlabal tallied two perfectly timed blocks in a row for the 26-24 victory.
In game two the Red Hawks scored the first four points. Fedderly later scored back-to-back aces to put the Chiefs in front 6-5. Catawba Valley responded by taking seven of the next eight points to grab a 12-6 lead. The Red Hawks were able to keep Waubonsee at arm's length and extended their lead to 19-10. The Chiefs then reeled off four straight points prompting a Catawba Valley timeout. A kill by Fedderly got Waubonsee within four at 20-16, but a service error derailed the Chiefs' momentum. The Red Hawks finished off the 25-19 win to even things at a game apiece.
Game three started with a point for Catawba Valley as a block attempt by Fedderly landed out of bounds. A block by Friedlund tied the game at 4-all before the Red Hawks surged ahead 8-5. Fedderly booked a kill to make it 11-8, but another service error helped the Red Hawks keep the upper hand. Waubonsee clawed its way back to within one at 16-15 on a kill by Fedderly and tied it moments later on a kill by Coultrip. Unfortunately a service error once again put Catawba Valley on top. The Red Hawks expanded their lead to 20-17 forcing a Waubonsee timeout. Shortly thereafter Gittins made a key block and Fedderly smacked another kill past the Red Hawks to get Waubonsee within a point at 21-20. Catawba Valley's Emma Clark then took over registering a kill, a block for a point and another power kill to cap off a long volley for game point.
The 6'1" Clark then started off game four with another kill, one of 17 she booked for the match. A strategic kill by Friedlund to the back right corner tied it at 3-all, and the Chiefs then took the lead on a service ace by Coultrip. A see-saw battle ensued as the game was tied on four different occasions over the next two minutes. A tandem block by Dlabal and Gittins put Waubonsee in front, followed by a kill by Coultrip, another double block by Dlabal and Gittins, and a kill by Coultrip again to make it 14-10. Highlighted by a pair of kills by Dlabal and Fedderly, the Chiefs held a 21-18 lead and appeared poised to force a fifth and deciding game. However, a kill by Clark, a block and another kill by the Red Hawks' Aasia McNeill suddenly tied the game at 21. An ace put Catawba Valley in the lead and another kill, followed by a block gave them six straight points and a chance for match point. Dlabal momentarily delayed the Red Hawks' celebration with a kill from the middle of the net before Clark hammered a decisive kill moments later for match point.
Fedderly finished off a fantastic season with a huge game for Waubonsee. The 5'8" freshman tallied 18 kills, three aces, 12 digs and four blocks. The Kaneland High School product ended the season with 471 kills to rank 13th nationally among all NJCAA Division II players in that category. She also registered 77 aces, ninth best in the nation this season, to go along with 584 digs and 585.0 points, ranking her 10th nationally. Robinson ended the day with seven kills, 21 assists and 15 digs; and finished the season with 81 service aces, sixth best in the nation. Coultrip booked nine kills, 16 assists and 11 digs, while Dlabal also had nine kills to go along with six blocks. The Dekalb High School alumnus finishes with 89 blocks to rank 9th nationally, just behind Gittins who ended up with 92 solo blocks on the season. Lydia Sabanish chipped in with 26 digs and three aces, Friedlund added eight kills, and Riane Tomsa contributed 11 digs. Waubonsee finished the match with 10 aces and 10 untimely service errors. For the season, the Chiefs finished third nationally in aces with 377, while also leading the country in service errors with 483. The Chiefs were also fourth in points (2,452.0), sixth in kills (1,757) and solo blocks (287), 13th in assists (1,513), and 14th in both digs (2,500) and total blocks (318).