By Dana Finkler
Collegiate Staff Writer
The Gordon Hunsberger Arena hosted the NJCAA Regional Division XII volleyball tournament from November 5-7.
The Raiders would go on to win the Regional tournament, winning their fourth regional championship in the past five years.
“Winning both the state and regional tournament has given us the confidence that we can win a national title this year,” Head Coach Chip Will said.
GRCC opened the tournament on Friday with a bye after earning the first overall seed in the MCCAA (Michigan Community College Athletic Association) with a 28-5 regular season record.
The Raiders drew Sinclair Community College Pride, the fourth overall seed in their first match on Saturday. GRCC made quick work of the Pride winning in three straight sets 25-14, 25-9, and 25-15.
“The biggest thing we wanted to do was serve and pass well against a good defensive team,” Head Coach Chip Will said. “We knew if we had a good tempo offensively we would be able to take a advantage of it and that’s what we did.”
The Raiders would advance to play conference rival Muskegon Community College Jayhawks.
The Raiders and the Jayhawks split the first sets 25-18 and 18-25 tying the match at 1-1. GRCC stepped up to close out the final two sets 25-15 and 25-14 to advance to the Regional championship.
In the District F championship on Sunday, the Raiders would have to play Muskegon CC again.
The Raiders won the first set 25-17. During the second set Muskegon jumped out to a 16-12 lead. Chip Will called a timeout to try and regroup the team.
After a back and forth match, GRCC and Muskegon found themselves tied at 21-21. The teams both added two more points tyingProxy-Connection: keep-alive
he match at 23-23. The Raiders then stepped up with intense defense and kills and would go on to win the match 26-24.
“Our team has never been a rah-rah team,” Will said. “I just told them to play off the momentum and excitement.”
Now with a two set lead, the Raiders were just one set away from winning.
GRCC took a commanding 11-5 lead, but Muskegon would rally to make it close at 18-17. Will called a timeout to get the team focused.
After the timeout, the Raiders put away the Jayhawks winning the final set 25-21 to capture the Regional Championship.
The Raiders now advance to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament, which begins on Thursday, November 17 at Owens Community College.