Columbus State Loses a Hard Fought NJCAA Final to Finish as National Runner Up

Columbus State Loses a Hard Fought NJCAA Final to Finish as National Runner Up

ROCHESTER, MN- The Columbus State volleyball team fell short of their first national title Saturday night, falling to No. 1 Owens in a sweep at Rochester Community and Technical College.  

In the first set, Columbus State struggled to gain momentum, dropping the first game 12-25. Early in the second set, they went on a 7-0 run before Owens regrouped and gained the lead, grabbing the second set 17-25. For the third set, the Cougars fought for points, trading them with Owens until the Express pulled away with several straight kills. Owens eventually accumulated their 25 points, capturing the title. The final set score was 25-17.

Columbus State (28-10) finished as the NJCAA national runner-up for the first time in school history, the highest finish ever for the program. Since transitioning to Div. 3 in 2016, the program has seen three national tournament appearances, including a fifth place finish in 2016 and a fourth place finish in 2017.

Bobby Diamond and Audrey Jenkins were both named to the NJCAA DIII Championship All-Tournament team. 

Inside the Match:

-No. 3 Columbus State (28-10) vs. No. 1 Owens (43-4)

-Columbus State defeated No. 6 Jamestown in the quarterfinals and No. 2 Rochester in the semifinals to reach the championship final.                                                

-The teams are in the same conference (OCCAC) and region (Region 12).

-The Cougars are 0-5 against the Express this season.

Key Statistics:

-The Cougars bested the Express in aces and blocks while Owens held Columbus State to a 

-2018 First-team All-American Bobby Diamond led the Cougars with ten kills. She also posted a block, a dig, and an ace.

-Audrey Jenkins ran the offense with 23 assists and served up a game-high three aces. She also tallied eight digs, four kills, and a block.

-Akea Hunter tallied six kills at a .333 pace while Burgin Bachman contributed five kills at a .455 clip. Hunter also recorded a team-high trio of blocks.

-Tate Rybarczyk had a team-high 14 digs while Edan Jones added eight digs in the effort.

Notes:

-Diamond registered a career-high 29 kills in the tournament. She concludes her stellar Columbus State career with 858 kills – with 508 from this season alone. Diamond also accumulated 230 digs and 211 blocks in her two seasons.

-Jenkins dished out 1,257 assists this season, the third most assists by a setter in the nation. Over her two seasons, she amassed 1,842 helpers.

-Rybarczyk finishes her Cougar career as the nation's leading libero with 727 total digs.