ROCHESTER, Minn. —- A trio of area high school graduates played roles in bringing a third straight national championship to Owens Community College.
Ashley Scott delivered the match-winning point on a kill from the right side as No. 2 Owens (29-7) became the first NJCAA Division III volleyball team to capture three consecutive national championships with a thrilling 23-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-20, 15-12 win over No. 1 Rock Valley (34-8) at the Regional Sports Center on Saturday.
Maddie White, who had team-highs in kills (21) and digs (17) while adding five assists and three blocks in the championship match, was named the MVP of the national tournament. Sydnie Meinke and Emily Fallis each earned a spot on the all-tournament team. Owens head coach Sonny Lewis was also named the NJCAA Division III Coach of the Year for the third-consecutive season.
“I’m just so happy for the players,” Lewis said. “After not playing last year and having almost an entirely new team, they worked hard this whole year to get to this point. I’m proud of them.”
The Express are now 40-3 in postseason play over the past six seasons with three national titles, a national runner-up finish, a third-place finish and a ninth-place finish. Since moving to the Division III level, the Red and White are 22-0 over the past three seasons, and they have dropped just five total sets over those 22 matches.
Alexis Sarvo and Jessica Dohm of Swanton, and McKenna Babcock of Evergreen were all part of the national championship.
In addition to White’s 21 kills, Scott added 11 kills, while Sarvo had nine more. Fallis (25) and Dohm (24) combined for 49 assists. Sydney Alford chipped in four assists and finished second on the team with 16 digs. Defensively, Meinke (15), Babcock (15) and Fallis (10) chipped in double-digit digs. Taylor Momany added six kills and two blocks, and Sarvo had a team-high four blocks.
Rock Valley took a late 12-11 lead in the final, but White and Scott hammered down back-to-back kills to force a timeout. An attack error then gave the Express three match points. Following another timeout, Scott took a pass from Dohm and set off a celebration as she delivered the kill off the block and out of bounds.