FANTASTIC FINISH: Lady Cardinals fifth at national tournament

FANTASTIC FINISH: Lady Cardinals fifth at national tournament

Talk about saving the best for last!

Rallying from a 2-0 deficit, the Lady Cardinals overcame Region XIV Tournament champion Tyler for a 3-2 win in the fifth-place game of the 2018 NJCAA Volleyball Championship Tournament Saturday afternoon in Hutchinson, KS.

The ninth-seeded Lady Cardinals took down seventh-seeded Tyler, 22-25, 15-25, 25-23, 25-23, 15-10, to cap the most successful season in the nine-year history of the college's volleyball program.

The Lady Cardinals, who received an at-large national tournament berth, finished the season 28-7.

"I am very proud of these kids," said Tosha Spain, the only head coach in the history of the Lady Cardinals. "They overcame so much this season, so to do it one more time when we got down (to Tyler) didn't surprise me.

"They are a special group and have now set the bar for our program. I can't express how much they truly mean to me."

In a season in which there were so many obstacles to overcome, the final two matches were sweet and had to make it all seem worthwhile. In addition to knocking off Tyler for fifth place, the Lady Cardinals took down fourth-seeded Navarro, 3-1, on Friday. Navarro finished second to Tyler at the regional tournament and was 4-0 vs. the Lady Cardinals this season going into the match.

All-tournament selection Juliana Vaz had a monster game against Tyler. She had 25 kills and 21 digs to go along with 26 points.

Yasmin da Silva and Erica Airheart also came up big for the Lady Cardinals with 16 and 14 kills and 18 and 16 points, respectively. Lauren Castles had 10 points.

Audry Lopez contributed 18 digs and Livia Kumura 12.

Ana Paula Zandona led the Lady Cardinals with 50 assists.

The Lady Cardinal volleyball program is now 185-119 overall and 3-1 in national tournament matches.