John Carroll University hosts national volleyball championship
John Carroll University recently hosted the NCAA DIII National Women’s Volleyball Championships at DeCarlo Varsity Center. The last national championship hosted by John Carroll was played in 1989.
This year’s tournament took place Nov. 19 through 21 and welcomed eight teams from across the nation, including Hope College (MI), Tufts University (MA), the University of Redlands (CA), Washington University (MO), Juniata College (PA), Southwestern Texas University, New York University and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
When they weren’t competing or practicing, the teams participated in a community service project in which they read books to local elementary school students. The players interacted with the students and also handed out autographed mementos.
As part of the tournament, a free, two-hour youth volleyball clinic was offered. The clinic was open to local volleyball teams, individuals, and youth in the community who were interested in learning skills and techniques from college-level coaches and players. Participants watched demonstrations and received volleyball instruction, as well as a free event T-shirt, a volleyball, and a ticket to the championship game, which followed at 7 p.m.
The championship game packed the gym to nearly standing room only. The stands overflowed with local youth volleyball players and their families, JCU students and faculty, community members, and family and friends of the two remaining teams: Washington University and Juniata College.
The two teams had last faced off on Sept. 18 in a game that earned them the record for most points scored in a three set NCAA match during the 25-point scoring era. Washington won all three sets with scores of 28–26, 41–39, and 27–25. However, Juniata came into the finals without a tournament loss.
The game was intense with Washington losing the first set, but coming back to sweep the next three. Washington’s coach, Rich Luenemann, now holds three national titles in his 10-year career at the university.
John Carroll University lost in the OAC tournament quarterfinal to 6th ranked Ohio Northern University and did not advance to the national championship tournament. JCU ended the year with a 12-17 record.
Tesa Nicolanti is a stay-at-home mom in Cleveland who pursues a career as a freelance writer whenever her two preschoolers are sleeping.