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First appearance at national championship in school history, volleyball ends with 10th place finish

The Golden Eagles women’s volleyball team closed its electric 2017 season with a 34-8 record, a Region IX championship, and a 10th-place finish at its first ever national championship appearance.

The Golden Eagles improved on their 28-10 record from last season and the upgrades started at the net and with recruiting.

“We decided to go a little bit bigger with our recruiting and tried to get a little more size at the net,” head coach Austin Albers said. “Especially being as young as we were we had size and physicality to fall back on.”

Young. That’s what LCCC was since 11 out of 16 players were freshman we had to set goals during the summer because it can be tough to get a young team to start playing as a team, Albers said.

“As the season progresses we try to graduate the girls beyond the freshman standard of having those first-year mistakes or freshman freak-out moments,” Albers said. “We try to replicate pressure throughout the season so that when the big moment does come we can fall back on to some of those times where they’ve succeeded.”

A major focus for Albers and his young squad heading into the 2017 season was to try to be more aggressive in the serving game and score more points. The Golden Eagles ended the season with an average of 2.13 service aces per set, which was up from 1.88 the previous year.

LCCC led the country in service aces after recording 318 service aces throughout the year. For comparison, national champions Miami Dade College only had 185 and averaged only 1.62 per set.

“Being aggressive also comes with a lot of other errors, but I thought we did a good job getting other teams out of sync with our serving,” Albers said.

As successful as this season was, Albers and the Golden Eagles still have a lot of work to do before next season gets underway.

“Going to the national tournament showed us a lot after seeing some of those teams across the net from us,” Albers said. “We need to get a lot more physical in terms of how high we were playing above the net. We need to become a much better blocking team and need to clean up our first contact and defensive transition.”

The Golden Eagles, who were the 11th seed, lost their first matchup at the national tournament to six seed Mineral Area College from Park Hills, Missouri.

Fighting through the consolation bracket, the Golden Eagles eventually lost to Panola College from Carthage, Texas, to finish in 10th place.

“We need to work to maintain our seeding throughout the season next year in case we do make it to the national tournament,” Albers said. “We drew a pretty tough matchup being the 11 seed, but a higher seed will definitely help us out.”

With this being Albers and the volleyball team’s first-ever visit to the national championship, they weren’t entirely sure what to expect. Albers had multiple coaches from the region and the head coach at Idaho State reach out to offer advice about the tournament. The majority of the advice was to be consistent with how you played all year.

“I thought our team did a really good job of playing well throughout the tournament,” Albers said. “We were a little wide-eyed at first, especially since it was everyone’s first time, which is a part of the experience. Hopefully it should prepare us for future tournament opportunities.”

About Logan Harrison (26 Articles)

My name is Logan Harrison, I am 21 years old. I was born in the great city of Minot, North Dakota. My father had been sent to the Minot Air Force base, where we lived for four years after I was born. In the year 2000, my father was reassigned to the the F.E. Warren Air Force Base where we ended up staying in smelly, outdated air force housing for three or four years until we moved off the base. I attended Anderson Elementary school and then enrolled into the East High system where I attended Carey Jr. High for three years. After graduating from East High in 2014, I received a scholarship to Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington, Wyoming, to compete on the golf team. During my time there we went to back-to-back National Championships and took second in the region my freshman year, and during my sophomore season we won the Region IX title. I always love a good meal with good company, and I enjoy hanging out and talking with friends and family. I will never pass up an opportunity to pet a dog or any pet.

This past winter I took a trip to St. Thomas Island in the Virgin Islands where I stayed with a friend of mine and worked as a kayak guide for seven weeks. That whole experience is something I encourage everyone to do. Get out of your comfort zone and explore a new environment, culture, food, and activities. I went kayaking, snorkeling, and hiking almost everyday. The highlight of my time there was scuba diving, swimming with sharks and exploring an old shipwreck. The ocean is surprisingly very peaceful and magical when you finally reach the bottom. The whole experience taught me that life doesn’t actually start until you reach the end of your comfort zone.

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