23 Nov Navarro, Seward battle for NJCAA title
By MIKE MONTFORT
HUTCHINSON, Ks. — Navarro advances to the NJCAA D-I Volleyball Tournament Championship to face third-seeded, third-ranked Seward County, Ks., Saturday night.
NJCAA Division I Volleyball will crown a first-time national champion Saturday night at The Sports Center.
Coach Andy Cavins’ Bulldogs disposed of fifth-seeded Polk State, 3-0, in one Friday semifinal, while Seward County’s Saints took a 3-2 win over second-seeded Miami Dade Community College.
Navarro hit .314 in its match against Polk to gain its 30th victory and 22nd sweep of the season. While sweeping a Florida team for the second consecutive day, sophomore Deja Arnold had a team-high 14 kills and Jordan Lockwood added 12 more. Sophomore setter emily Witt’s 37 assist, 13-dig game marked her 13th double-double of the season and 27th of her career.
Here’s a brief preview of Saturday’s championship match:
NJCAA VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
6:30 pm Saturday, November 23
The Sports Arena | Hutchinson, Ks.
(3) SEWARD COUNTY, Ks. (31-2) v. (1) NAVARRO (30-0)
COACHES: SCC- Tony Trifonov. NC – Andy Cavins
REGIONS: Seward County, from Region VI, was the last qualifier for the 14-team field before two at-large selections were added. The Saints are appearing in the tournament for the third time in four years and ninth overall. The Plains District Champions finished fourth here last year. Navarro, from Region XIV, was the first qualifier for the 14-team field. The Bulldogs won matches over Coastal Bend, Lee and host Tyler to qualify from an eight-team double-elimination tournament. Navarro is making its second consecutive appearance at the national tournament. The Bulldogs finished eighth here last season.
REACHING THE FINALS: Seward County defeated No. 14 seed Hill, 3-1, in the opening round, and swept No. 13 Northeastern CC, Col., 3-0, in the quarterfinals. Friday, the Saints won their semifinal over No. 2 seeded Miami Dade, 3-2. Navarro defeated No. 16 Monroe, 3-1 in its first match and followed up with a 3-0 win over No. 8 Hillsborough CC, Fl. The Bulldogs won Friday’s semifinal over No. 5 seeded Polk State, 3-0.
KEY TEAM STATISTICS: (Full-season, after matches Friday with NJCAA ranking)
* Kills Per Set: 1. Seward County 13.79. 2. Navarro 13.58.
* Hitting Percentage: 1. Seward County .374. 3. Navarro .350.
* Points Per Set: 2. Seward County 17.9. 3. Navarro 17.8.
* Assists Per Set: 2. Seward County 13.04. 7. Navarro 12.09.
* Blocks Per Set: 4. Navarro 3.03. 19. Seward County 2.41
* Total Blocks: 16. Navarro 300. 29. Seward County 258
KEY INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS: (Full-season, after matches Friday, with NJCAA ranking)
* Kills Per Set: 3. Yanlis Feliz, Seward County, 4.64. 12. Jordan Lockwood, Navarro, 3.98
* Hitting Percentage: 2. Deja Arnold, Navarro, .500. 4. Monica Wood, Navarro, .459. 7. Yanlis Feliz, Seward County, .451.
* Points Per Set: 2. Yanlis Feliz, Seward County, 5.3. 8. Jordan Lockwood, Navarro, 4.7.
* Assists Per Set: 2. Laura De Pra, Seward County, 12.54. 4. Emily Witt, Navarro, 11.31.
* Blocks Per Set: 6. Deja Arnold, Navarro, 1.50. 18. Mesalina Severino, Seward County, 1.24.
* Total Blocks: 13. Deja Arnold, Navarro, 141. 18. Mesalina Severino, Seward County, 133
RECENT MEETINGS: The teams are meeting for the first time in 2019. They split five-set matches at Tyler in each of the previous two seasons. Navarro won in five in 2018 (25-23, 25-17, 23-25, 22-25, 15-11) after Seward won in five in 2017 (25-17, 25-13, 24-26, 23-25, 15-10).