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HCC goes down spiking at nationals

November 22, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. - The Hagerstown Community College volleyball team battled through a pair of five-game matches Friday and went 1-1 to finish tied for 11th place at the NJCAA Division II national tournament at Chula Vista Resort.

The 13th-seeded Hawks battled back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat No. 12-seed East Central, Mo., 25-27, 13-25, 25-14, 25-18, 15-11 in their first match of the day.

"It was very important," Hawks coach Beth Domenico said of the comeback. "We play a little different style than most of the teams here. The games we lost, we weren't really playing our style. The games they won, they played their game and did awesome. I know a couple girls were definitely playing to keep playing, and that's what I kept wishing for this team. I didn't want to lose two in a row and be done. I told them they played great."

HCC finished its tournament with a loss to No. 8 Central, Neb., 25-15, 15-25, 24-26, 30-28, 15-12.

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"It was back and forth and back and forth. It was a very emotional game and the girls definitely had fun playing," Domenico said. "In the third game, (Central) was up 24-17 and we came back. In the fifth game, they were up 14-9 and we thought we were going to do it again but we only got to 12. They had some great comebacks."

Tara Garver averaged more than 10 assists per game on the day, finishing with 103. Rebecca Morgan had 40 kills, Morena Ribeiro had 28 and Julia Becker added 24. Hailee Growden had 26 digs and Morgan and Ribeiro each added 16.

"Julia had a wonderful tournament," Domenico said. "Everything she touched seem to go the right way for us. Morena and Becca were a little up and down, when one was on the other wasn't and then they switched. I kept wondering what would happen if they both were on."

While Domenico and the players had hoped for a better finish - they were aiming to do better than the Hawks' seventh-place effort last year - Domenico was satisfied with the result, especially with only one sophomore (Kierra Nelson) on the roster.

"I think it went well. I know we had higher expectations than that, but teams are starting to give us respect and each year, it seems like there's a slow progress but we keep stepping up," Domenico said. "Other coaches are scouting us, and I think that's a big deal. We're not dropping six games in a row and being done anymore. I just want these players to remember how this feels for next year."

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