Rochester, MN - The RCTC Yellowjacket volleyball team hadn't faced a ton of adversity in the MCAC Southern Division regular season, winning 12 straight matches to finish 12-0. In the process the Jackets only lost one set finishing 36-1. It was clear from the start of the Region XIIIA Championsshiop match that Minnesota State Fergus Falls had other plans for this match.
In the first set the Spartans jumped out early, 4-1, only to have RCTC take a 12-8 lead halfway through the set. From there it was a back and forth affair until MN State closed out set one with 3 straight points to win 28-26. Set two was much the same as RCTC could not put balls away against a fantastic MN State defense. The Jackets used a late set run to close out the set and even the match at 1-1 with a 25-17 win.
Set three proved to be the most lopsided of the day as RCTC jumped out early and rolled to a 25-13 win. MN State was not about to throw in the towel in set four as the two teams entered the closing stages of the set tied at 19-19. The Yellowjackets then used a 6-1 run to close out the mathc out winning the set 25-20 and the match 3-1.
The Yellowjackets were lead offensively by Carrie Rutledge and Hailey Bahr, as they teamed up for 33 kills, and a .330 hitting percentage. Rutledge ended with 19 kills and Bahr with 14. All-Division First Team setter Brekkin McCready guided the Jacket offense with 50 assists while adding 12 digs on the day. Katlyn Bade had a career high 28 digs in the 4 set match.
Perhaps the biggest spark in the match came in the fourth set as Sophomore Mariah Steinbach went on a blocking run, posting 5 of her 6 blocks in the fourth set. Despite only 4 kills in the match, Steinbach's key performance at the net in the decisive fourth set earned her tournament MVP honors.
With the win the Yellowjackets earned a berth in next weeks NJCAA national tournament. The event, which is hosted by Rochester Sports and Rochester Community and Technical College will be played on RCTC's campus in the Sports Center. Competition dates are set for Thursday-Saturday, November8-10, with a practice day and tournament banquet being held on Wednesday the 7th.
The Yellowjackets are awaiting their seeding for the tournament as this will determine match times for Day one! For more information on the national tournament click here: NJCAA DIII Tournament
The members of the Region XIIIA Regional Tournament Team are:
MVP - Mariah Steinbach, RCTC
Carrie Rutledge, RCTC
Hailey Bahr, RCTC
Kassandra Algarate, MN State
Hannah Ekse, MN State
Jenna Scott, St. Cloud
Morgan Gronli, Ridgewater