TJC clinches national berth

TJC sophomore Emily Clark (13) and freshman Mariah Shaw (5) jump to block Wharton sophomore Kara Mushrush's spike. (Victor Texcucano)

The Tyler Junior College Apache Ladies are headed back to the national volleyball tournament.

The Apache Ladies, ranked No. 2 in the nation with a 31-2 record, won two matches on Saturday in the Region XIV Tournament at Wagstaff Gymnasium. The wins advanced TJC to the unbeaten game at 3 p.m.

Since the regional gets two berths to the NJCAA Tournament, which is scheduled for Nov. 21-23 at the Casper Events Center in Casper, Wyo., the two teams that advance to the final get the bid. The winner of today’s 1 p.m. match between No. 1 Blinn and No. 25 Laredo earns the other berth.

The regional championship is scheduled for 3 p.m. today. If Tyler happens to lose that match, another game will be played at 5 p.m.

TJC began the day with a 3-0 win over rival Trinity Valley. Tyler had beaten the Lady Cardinals twice previously, but both had gone to a fifth set. Saturday was different as the Apache Ladies won 25-22, 25-20, 25-22.

Abby Mackey, a 5-10 freshman from Overton, led the way with 19 kills, while Morgan Lewis, a freshman from Wichita Falls, and Jordan McArdle, a sophomore from Crosby, were next with 13 and 11, respectively.

Kaitlyn Brooks, a sophomore from Sugar Land, set up the Apache Ladies offense with 45 assists. Mackey and Hannah Robey, a sophomore from Longview, had 17 digs apiece. They were followed by Grace Community graduate Rilee Miller (15), Brooks (14) and Jacqueline Perez, a sophomore from Baytown.

Pacing the Lady Cardinals were Sara Cruz (11 kills), Ryleigh Thompson (31 assists), Alexis Bongiorno (20 digs) and Amelie Guinci (15 digs).

In the unbeaten game, TJC won 3-0 over Laredo. The Apache Ladies won 25-15, 25-11, 25-11.

McArdle and Lewis led in kills with 13 and 10, respectively. Brooks had 34 assists. Robey was tops in digs with 17, while Perez (15), Brooks (10) and Miller (10) followed.

The Palominos were paced by Kaila Kikugawa (17 assists, 10 digs), Alexis Villa (six kills), Joanna Boronczyk (six kills) and Paula Mrowczynska (12 digs).

Region XIV Tournament

Schedule

Friday

Game 1: Laredo (South 3) def. Paris (North 2), 25-18, 25-22, 25-23

Game 2: TVCC (North 3) def San Jacinto (South 2), 25-23, 25-21, 25-23

Game 3: Blinn (South 1) def Panola (North 4), 22-25, 22-25, 25-23, 25-23,15-8

Game 4: Tyler (North 1) def Wharton (South 4), 17-25, 25-18, 25-18, 25-23

Game 5: Paris def Panola, 25-22, 25-21,18-25, 25-22 (Panola eliminated)

Game 6: San Jacinto def Wharton 25-15,27-25,23-25,25-21 (Wharton eliminated)

Saturday

Game 7: Laredo def Blinn, 16-25, 20-25,25-21,25-19,15-12

Game 8: Tyler def. Trinity Valley, 25-22, 25-20, 25-22

Game 9: Blinn def San Jacinto, 21-25,25-22,22-25,25-13,15-13 (San Jacinto eliminated)

Game 10: Paris def Trinity Valley, 25-21,20-25,22-25,25-23,15-9 (TVCC eliminated)

Game 11: Tyler def Laredo 25-15,25-11,25-11

Game 12: Blinn def Paris 25-17,25-12,25-19 (Paris eliminated)

Sunday

Game 13: Blinn vs. Laredo, 1 p.m.

Game 14: Tyler vs. Winner Game 13, 3 p.m.

Game 15: if necessary, 5 p.m.

Sports Editor

I am a native Tylerite and I grew up reading the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Tyler Courier-Times. My parents took both the morning and afternoon papers. I came to work here 35 years ago at the age of 23, right after college.

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