by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
With four wins, the 2018 Kansas City Kansas Community College Volleyball Classic proved to be a breath of fresh air for the hosting Lady Blue Devils – but a real bummer for the nation’s best teams.
No. 1 ranked and defending national champion Coffeyville suffered its first loss of the season; No. 2 ranked Cowley College lost twice in the two-day tourney Friday and Saturday.
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (NEO), which had to rally to nip KCKCC 3-2 in the season’s opener for both teams, ended Coffeyville’s 18-match winning streak 3-1 Saturday while Cowley was losing Friday to Iowa Central and NEO, both by 3-1 counts. Cowley came into the tourney with 14 straight wins.
KCKCC, meanwhile, made quick work of its first two opponents, defeating both Waubonsee and Iowa Lakes in straight sets 3-0. The Blue Devils defeated Waubonsee 25-20, 25-23, 25-19 and Iowa Lakes 25-16, 25-23, 25-16 on Friday.
However, the Blue Devils had to go five sets for 3-2 wins over Ottawa University junior varsity and Longview on Saturday. KCKCC twice went ahead of Ottawa JV 27-25 and 25-14 only to have Ottawa pull even with 25-23 and 25-19 wins before KCKCC claimed the final 15-9.
The Blue Devils had to come from behind against Longview, which took a 2-1 lead by sandwiching identical 25-23 wins around a 25-17 KCKCC win. A 25-23 win in the fourth set got the Blue Devils even before they captured a 15-13 in the final set.
KCKCC (13-7) now returns to Jayhawk Conference play against Cowley in Arkansas City Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. and at Labette a week from Wednesday. The Blue Devils don’t return home until Oct. 10 when they play host to Fort Scott.
NEO was the only other team in the tourney to finish 4-0. Ranked No. 20 in the latest NJCAA poll, the Lady Norse (15-7) knocked off three Jayhawk teams, defeating Cowley 25-22, 19-25, 25-22, 25-20 on Friday and Coffeyville 12-25, 25-20, 26-24, 25-20 and Neosho County 3-0 on Saturday. The win over Coffeyville avenged an earlier 3-1 loss to the Red Ravens.