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Owens Express volleyball heads to national tournament

Owens Community College’s volleyball program is one step away from being crowned national champions after winning the NJCAA Region XII District E Women’s Championship.

The Express women’s volleyball team will play Thursday through Saturday in the NJCAA Division II Women’s Volleyball National Championship Tournament, for which the Perrysburg Township college plays host.

This marks Owens’ third trip to the NJCAA Division II National championship tournament. Additionally, the Express participated in five Division III national championship tournaments and finished third in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

The team earned its trip to nationals by winning the regional title at Grand Rapids Community College in Grand Rapids, Mich. Owens defeated Columbus State Community College (25-13, 20-25, 18-25, 25-22, 15-10) in the championship match to advance to the national tournament.

Led by Coach Sonny Lewis, the volleyball program’s overall record is 35-9. In late October, the Express women’s volleyball team captured the outright Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC) regular season championship with a victory over Columbus State. Owens has won 12 out of the last 13 OCCAC regular season championships.

The squad finished 12-0 in the OCCAC regular season standings and is ranked No. 17 in the latest NJCAA Division II national volleyball regular season poll.

This marks the second consecutive year that Owens will host the national championship tournament. The college has hosted the national championship tournament on eight previous occasions.

The top 16 NJCAA Division II teams from across the country will compete in the double elimination consolation tournament. All matches will occur in the college’s Student Health and Activities Center on Oregon Road in Perrysburg Township.

Tournament competition in the 16-team event begins Thursday, with first round matches taking place at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The second round will begin at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 15. On Nov. 16, the national volleyball tournament continues with losers’ bracket and national semifinal matches at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

The tournament ends Saturday, with consolation bracket matches at 12 p.m. followed by the fifth place match at 2:30 p.m., the third-place match at 4:30 p.m. and national championship match at 6:30 p.m.

Owens will play Kirkwood Community College in its first match of the national tournament at 3 p.m. Thursday. If the team wins, it will play the winner of the Iowa Central Community College/Monroe College match at 7:30 p.m. that day.

Besides Owens, the teams in the tournament are Cowley County Community College, Arkansas City, Kan. (35-0); Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Rapids, Mich. (35-1); Parkland College, Champaign, Ill. (42-7); Iowa Central Community College, Fort Dodge, Iowa (34-10); Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (37-8); Moraine Valley Community College, Palos Hills, Ill. (35-0); Phoenix College, Phoenix, Ariz. (19-10); Lincoln Land Community College, Springfield, Ill. (31-7); Kansas City Community College, Kansas City, Kan. (30-6); Kishwaukee Community College, Malta, Ill. (30-13); Central Community College, Columbus, Neb. (30-10); Monroe College, New Rochelle, N.Y. (35-5); Catawba Valley Community College, Hickory, N.C. (34-0); Hagerstown Community College, Hagerstown, Md. (24-3); and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Miami, Okla. (17-7).

Tickets for the national tournament are $15 (day pass) and $35 (three-day pass). Children under 12 are $5 per day.

For more information, call 1-800-GO-OWENS, Ext. 7973.

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