Westerners put an end to NMMI’s postseason hopes with 75-65 victory in play-in game
NMMI Sports Press
HUTCHINSON, KS – In the third-place match at the 2017 NJCAA National Championship tournament, the NMMI Bronco volleyball team outlasted Tyler Junior College in a five-set grudge match.
NMMI quickly won the first two sets (25-23 and 25-18) but couldn’t close out a close third (23-25) against the seventh-ranked Apaches. T
Tyler JC stormed back again in the fourth set (21-25) and tied the match at two games apiece.
In the final set both teams played top-notch volleyball, extending the set well beyond the ‘first-to-15’ goal. The Lady Apaches opened up with a 4-1 run, but the Lady Broncos battled back to knot the score back up, 10-10.
After that, neither team would take more than a one point lead.
Tied 18-18, NMMI finally got the two consecutive kills needed for the win, by going to their two All-American nominees. Karen Rivera-Herrera got the first kill off a set from Mirna Kovacevic, and Hannah Davis knocked down the winner off a pass from Karime Raygoza.
When asked what she was thinking during the last point of the nail-biting fifth set, head Coach Shelby Forchtner said, “She (Hannah Davis) better put the ball down. As soon as the ball hit the ground I felt a sense of pressure off of my shoulders because I really wanted these kids to win this game.”
The win over Tyler – along with the opening round win over No. 4 Western Nebraska CC and quarterfinal win over No. 5 Hill College – gives NMMI their highest finish at the national tournament in program history.
“It is a huge step to be one of the top 16 teams, but then to come out and perform like we knew we could is really impressive to us as a coaching staff. They stepped up to the plate and played at a high level the entire time we were here and that is exactly what you want from your team when you play at the end of the year,” said Forchtner.
The head coach of No. 1 Miami Dade College – the team that bested NMMI in the semifinals and this year’s 2017 NJCAA National Champions – told coach Forchtner that NMMI was one of the best defenses and serving teams that they have faced all year.
The Broncos had four players with double digit kills: Paola Rivera-Herrera finished with 16 kills, Kim Trauboth had 15, McKayla Landreth had 13 and Hannah Davis had 12.
NMMI closes their season with a 31-12 record and a No. 3 final NJCAA ranking.