The #1 Cobras had a tough battle Friday night in the NJCAA National Semifinal match vs #5 Columbus State. The Cougars brought in a 34-2 record in the match, and the two teams hadn't faced each other yet this year. CSU features the nation's highest team hitting percentage and led the nation in kills/set.
True to form, it was an offensive battle featuring lots of kills. The difference, however, was big Cobra blocks and blue-collar defense coupled with team confidence, effort and excitement as the Cobras swept the Cougars 25-23, 26-24, 25-16.
Lizzy Barnard had the match of her season with 11 kills, only 1 error, on 23 swings. She also collected 7 digs. Lori VanBeek continued her fine play with 8 kills and 7 blocks, and Elise Dahlke and Alayna Jackson collected 7 kills apiece. Madison Weldon (20 assists) and Morgan Hickman (16 assists and 9 digs) did another outstanding job distributing the offense, and Kaitlyn Hunt had another monster match in the back row with phenomenal serve receive and 13 huge digs. Kait's counterpart in the back row, Madison Harpest, dug 9 hard-hit balls and had a few service runs that helped push the Cobras to victory.
The win improved the Cobra record to 54-2 overall and more importantly propelled them to the National Championship match today against #10 Glendale (Arizona). #10 Glendale defeated defending national champion Cowley (Kansas) in the other semifinal match 28-30, 24-26, 25-19, 25-23, 20-18.
Saturday's match will be broadcast live on njcaatv.com
starting at 5:30 p.m. Illinois time.