The Owens Community College women’s volleyball team recently completed one of its most successful seasons in program history finishing fourth among 16 teams in the NJCAA Division II National Championship Tournament. Owens served as the host site for the national tournament.
Owens totaled two victories and two loses during the three-day double elimination consolation tournament. Tournament wins came against Kirkwood Community College and Iowa Central Community College. The Express’ tournament loses were to Cowley County Community College and Parkland College. This was Owens’ third trip to the NJCAA Division II National championship tournament and their best finish in program history at this level, besting the 2003 team’s fifth place finish. Additionally, the Express participated in five Division III national championship tournaments and finished third in 1998, 1999 and 2000.
“I am extremely proud of our Owens Community College Express volleyball team,” said Owens coach Sonny Lewis. “We had a great year, which is a direct reflection on this team. This is one of the best groups of student-athletes I have ever coached. Team was first and foremost on their mind whenever they set foot on the volleyball court. They have represented Owens Community College with dignity and class and should proud of their very successful season.”
Express women’s volleyball completed the 2012 season with a 37-11 overall record and captured its 12th Ohio Community College Athletic Conference regular season championship in the last 13 years. Coach Lewis’ squad finished 12-0 in the OCCAC regular season standings and was ranked No. 17 in the latest NJCAA Division II national volleyball regular season poll.
Parkland College was too much for the No. 17 Express in the consolation match of the NJCAA D-II National Volleyball Tournament as the Express fell in straight sets 25-20, 25-21, 25-18.
Alyssa Meis (Genoa) closed her career for the Express with nine kills and a team-high 14 digs, while another sophomore Molly Hilfinger had a team-high 27 assists and 11 digs.
Dakia Sellers also added nine kills, while Kenzie Kleinhenz (5) and Jazmine Thomas (3) also contributed in that category. In addition to Meis and Hilfinger, Lisa Urbanski (14) and Bailey Windham (11) also contributed in digs. Thomas added a team-high six assisted blocks, while Kleinhenz and Sellers each added three. Overall, the Express had 29 kills, 27 assists, 62 digs, 18 assisted blocks and two aces.
With their fourth place finish in the NJCAA D-II tourney, the Express have achieved their best finish in program history at this level — besting the 2003 team's fifth place finish. Prior to 2001, the Express competed at the NJCAA D-III level and finished third three times.
The fourth place finish is also the second best finish by any women's sport at Owens at the D-II level — coming in just behind the 2010 Express softball team's national runner-up finish.
Hilfinger finishes her Express career with the program records for most assists in a match (64), season (1,516) and career (2,344). Sellers finishes her freshman year with the program's single season kill record at 624, while Meis was just behind her at 616. Both Sellers and Meis broke the program's single season kills record previously held by Stephanie Champine (595, 2006), but Sellers had a few more.
Meis is the only player in program history with at least 500 kills and 500 digs in the same season. Meanwhile, Urbanski finishes her freshman year with 965 digs, the second most in a single season in program history behind Ashley Hill's total of 1,006 in 2004.
Team members are Molly Hilfinger of Whitehouse, setter (Anthony Wayne H.S.); Alyssa Meis of Curtice, outside hitter (Genoa H.S.); Brandi Schimming of Martin, defensive specialist (Genoa H.S.); Kennedy Geyman of Monroe, Mich., defensive specialist/outside hitter (Jefferson H.S.); Tiffani Hobbs of Toledo, rightside hitter (Toledo Central Catholic H.S.); Kenzie Kleinhenz of St. Henry, rightside hitter (St. Henry H.S.); Dakia Sellers of Mansfield, outside hitter/middle blocker (Madison H.S.); Jazmine Thomas of Lima, middle blocker (Lima Senior H.S.); Lisa Urbanski of Toledo, defensive specialist (Notre Dame Academy); Bailey Windham of Monroe, Mich., setter (St. Mary Catholic Central H.S.), and Dominique Yates of Toledo, middle blocker/outside hitter (Bowsher H.S.).