TYLER, Texas (KETK) – For the fourth time in the last five seasons, the Tyler Junior College volleyball team is preparing for a trip to the national tournament.
This one much more gratifying.
Junior colleges had most of their fall sports including volleyball postponed to the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Missing on nationals in 2019 left a sour taste in their mouth, and served as motivation for this year’s group to pull through.
Ten days ago in Athens, TJC captured the Region 14 Tournament with sweeps over then No. 9-ranked Navarro in the semis, and No. 7-ranked Blinn in the title game.
Sixth-year coach Brandi Goldman explains that although she wishes that they could have played a few more non-conference opponents in this shortened season, their league certainly has prepared them.
Having earned the No. 7 seed in the 16-team field, and prior success on the big stage under goldman, the Apache Ladies won’t be satisfied with just making an appearance.
“We’re not satisfied with going to Nationals. Our job is to go in there and you know exceed our expectations, or other people’s expectations of us. I think that they have full capabilities to go to the national title. But they are gonna have to play hard for every single point every day,” said Goldman.
“Coach told us a couple practices ago making nationals isn’t the goal, winning nationals is. And I think coming off of the tough games we played at regionals, we have a lot of momentum and we are just looking to build on it going into the national tournament,” said sophomore outside hitter Jackie Howell.
“I think the success for us is the depth we have on the court and not having to rely on just one or two players, and being able to rely on every person on the court to do their job and work together,” said sophomore right-side hitter Julia Whitting-Reed.
11-4 Tyler heads out for the tourney in West Plains, Missouri at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday.
They face No. 10-seed Northeastern Junior College out of Colorado at 11:15 a.m. Thursday.
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