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Volleyball sweeps Laredo for berth in national tournament

LAREDO, Texas –For the fourth-straight year, the San Jacinto College volleyball team is headed back to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national tournament after sweeping Laredo Community College 25-21, 25-22, 25-18 Saturday afternoon in the Region XIV title game at Maravillo Gym.

Sophomore Bruna Rocha (Sao Paulo, Brazil) led all hitters with 18 kills, hitting .390, and was one of three San Jac players named to the all-tournament team. Fellow classmate Julia Teixeira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) knocked down 11, and joined Rocha and freshman setter Abbey Parker (Houston / Dobie High School) on the all-tournament team. Parker had another great game running the offense, putting up 35 assists, and bringing her weekend total to 80. With the win, San Jac improves to 30-2 overall, and awaits Tuesday’s announcement of national tournament pairings.

“I’m proud of the team,” said seventh-year head coach Sharon Nelson. “They really stepped up, especially when faced with adversity. They didn’t waiver, were confident throughout the weekend, stayed focused, and took care of business. They really worked hard all year for this moment.”

Before facing Laredo in the conference final, San Jac defeated Wharton 3-0 Friday evening in a semifinal match. At the end of the first game against Wharton, San Jac lost starting liberoBrooke Spossey (Houston / Dobie High School) to a knee injury. She was ranked 28th in the nation in digs with a 4.2 per game average. Freshman Morgan Hines (East Bernard / Brazos High School) stepped in, and helped San Jac to the conference title.

Assistant coach Mike McCrary added, “Our middles have come a long way. They played the best they have all year this weekend, forcing our opponents to change their game plan. Abbey (Parker) ran a smooth offense, we blocked better than we have all season, Morgan (Hines) stepped in and played well, and we just peaked at the right time.”

The NJCAA tournament is November 20-22 at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

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