by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
Kansas City Kansas Community College was not the most grateful of hosts Friday and Saturday, winning three of four matches in the annual KCKCC Invitational Volleyball Tournament.
The Lady Blue Devils lost only one set in defeating Waubonsee 3-1, Des Moines Area CC 3-0 and Metropolitan 3-0. The only loss came 3-0 at the hands of Coffeyville, the No. 2 ranked team in the NJCAA Division II national poll and defending national champion.
The wins boosted the Blue Devils’ record to 10-7 heading back into Jayhawk Conference action at Neosho County in Chanute Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Next home game comes Oct. 2 against Cowley County.
“We had a great week of volleyball, 4-1 with a conference win,” KCKCC coach Mary Bruno-Ballou said. “An excellent all-around team effort with everyone having an opportunity to contribute. Our defense was very solid this week and gave our hitters and opportunity for kills. But with the strength of our conference, there’s no letup. Our game at Neosho Wednesday is crucial in our goal of reaching the playoffs.”
A trio of sophomores led the way for the Blue Devils. Tara Mattingly, an outside hitter from Wichita Northwest, had 40 kills and 29 digs in the games vs. Waubonsee, Coffeyville and Metropolitan (statistics not available for DMACC game). Setter Gracie Golay of Wichita Trinity Academy had 73 assists and Natalie Vega Aponte 28 digs in those three game.
“Tara had a fantastic weekend and Gracie Golay has been wonderfully consistent throughout the year running a consistent offense,” Bruno-Ballou said.
The Blue Devils jumped in front of Waubonsee 25-15 in KCKCC’s opener Friday only to drop the second set 29-27 before bouncing back with 25-13 and 25-23 wins. Mattingly had 15 kills and 12 digs and DeSoto freshman Cassidy Crist 14 kills to lead the way offensively while Aponte and freshman Nicole Almestica led defensively with a dozen digs each.
KCKCC gave unbeaten Coffeyville a scare in Friday’s second match, dropping 25-21. 25-23 decisions before losing the final 25-15. The win stretched the Red Ravens winning streak to 20 in a row. Mattingly had 11 kills and 8 digs, Velez 11 assists and Golay 10 and Apointe 10 digs for KCKCC.
Big finishes helped the Blue Devils turn back Des Moines Area 25-18, 25-22, 25-20 in Saturday’s opener before closing out with a 25-22, 25-20, 25-14 sweep of Metropolitan. Golay had all 35 KCKCC assists against Metro while Mattingly had 14 kills and 9 digs, Apointe 14 digs and Almestica 13 digs.