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Volleyball One Win The National Tournament

Volleyball One Win The National Tournament

Thanks to a furiously fought 3-2 win over Neosho County Wednesday night, Kansas City Kansas Community College is one win away from a berth in the NJCAA DII national volleyball tournament.

The final hurdle, however, is a big one – No. 1 ranked and unbeaten Cowley County in the Plains A championship game to be played Saturday at Friends University in Wichita. Tipoff will come about 3:30 p.m. following a Plains B championship matching Johnson County and Highland at 1 p.m.

Cowley (37-0) took a 3-0 win over KCKCC in their only meeting of the season at Arkansas City Oct. 15 although two of the sets were decided by two points – 25-23 and 26-24. "We played them tough," said KCKCC Coach Mary Bruno-Ballou.

Spurred on by a raucous crowd including more than 100 KCKCC athletes, the Blue Devils twice came from behind to defeat Neosho in Wednesday's semifinal. "Our fans were game changers; they made a huge difference," said Bruno-Ballou.

Neosho took a 31-29 win in the opener in match that saw the Blue Devils fight off set points five times before falling. KCKCC got back even with a 25-20 second set win only to have Neosho push the Blue Devils to the brink of elimination with a down-to-the-wire 26-24 win.

If being down 2-1 served as a wake up call, it worked. The Blue Devils got even 25-12, then fell behind in the fifth set 4-0 before a stunning finish – allowing only one more point in outscoring the Panthers 15-1 in a 15-5 win.

The Blue Devils got outstanding performances from three veterans. Cassidy Crist had 38 kills and .349 kill percentage; Adriana Velez had 67 assists; and Kelcey Hund 38 digs. Crist and Velez are in their third year KCKCC; Hund is a sophomore.