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Mon, June 24

Roughriders eliminated from national tourney

CASPER, Wyo. - In the first round of the consolation bracket, the Yavapai College volleyball team continued its uncharacteristic style of play, committing 34 attack errors for a .074 hitting percentage against No. 10-seeded North Idaho College and the Cardinals took advantage with a 3-1 win over the Roughriders on Friday.

"They hit at a higher percentage and had more kills than we did and that was the difference in the match," Yavapai College head coach Zach Shaver said.

The loss eliminates Yavapai College from the NJCAA Division I Volleyball Championship and officially ends their 2015 campaign.

The Roughriders started the match strong, winning the first set against North Idaho 25-21.

Trailing 24-18 in game two, Yavapai College fought back with a 5-0 run to cut the Cardinals lead to one, 24-23, but were unable get over the top in a 25-23 loss.

With the series tied 1-1, Yavapai College took a 3-0 lead in game three, forcing a North Idaho timeout. The Roughriders remained in control at 18-14, but the Cardinals would grab the momentum with a 7-0 run to take the lead, 21-18, and eventually the game, 25-20.

Game four was close throughout, but North Idaho's defensive front proved too much for the Roughriders as they recorded three of their final five points with blocks in a 25-20 win.

"We played better and more consistent. Both teams played well, but [North Idaho's] blocking was better," Shaver said.

Standouts for the Roughriders included freshman Iva Alebic, who nearly missed a double-double with 19 kills and nine digs, but committed 21 attack errors for a -.030 kill percentage.

Shaver said the uncharacteristic play from Alebic happens at the national championship level when teams "stack up" against a certain player.

"Once you get to this level, teams will know who your best player is," Shaver said.

Freshman setter Jordan Tilley had a team-high 34 assists and a hitting percentage of .417 with five kills and no errors on 12 attempts. Sophomore Shelby Mottram produced a team-high .375 hitting percentage with seven kills and only one error on 16 attempts.

She also had five blocks, two of which were of the solo variety.

Sophomore Paige Hamilton had six kills and five blocks, sophomore Kayle Park had a team-high 18 digs and sophomore Brooke Donnelly chipped in with 14 digs and five assists.

Yavapai College finished the season with the programs first-ever District C championship to go along with the 22-8 overall record and 14-2 mark in the ACCAC. The national tournament appearance in Wyoming was also a program first for the Roughriders.

"We definitely improved from the first match, and our goal was to keep improving, and we learned a lot," Shaver said. "We learned what it takes to compete at this level. It takes handling a team that is playing well and scouted you. We will be better prepared when we get back next time."

Follow Brian M. Bergner Jr. on Twitter at @SportsWriter52 or reach him by phone at 928-445-3333, ext. 1106, or 928-899-6946.

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