Another Rock Valley College sports team is set to go after a national championship. This time it’s the women’s volleyball team. The Golden Eagles will leave for Rochester, Minnesota Tuesday for the NJCAA Division III national tournament.
Three times previously RVC volleyball teams have brought home national titles…the 1996 team, the ’97 team and the 2012 team. These girls hope to add another banner to the PE Center.
“I’m going in to win and I think everybody is going in to win, but all we can do is play with our passion and give it our all and hope that that brings us a championship,” says freshman Aleah Wight a graduate of Oregon high school.
Back in the spring a trip to Nationals might not have seemed possible. First-year head coach Kristy Pierce didn’t begin on the job until April 1st. At that time she had only three players.
“I had to go get a bunch of players. I went out and got 13 athletes,” says Pierce.
“Since Kristy did come in so late she didn’t have many recruits so we had to use what we had and we’re making it work,” says RVC sophomore Mallory Hecox a former East E-Rab.
Pierce had the winning touch as a high school coach. She ranks fourth in IHSA history in career wins. She has kept that up at RVC.
“She pushes us outside our comfort zone to where we can really grow as players,” says Wight.
“She loves her job and she loves working with us as players and she’s here to make us better every day,” says Hecox.
“They’ve worked very hard. We’ve come a long way since August, says Pierce. “One thing that the returners wanted me to know was that they wanted to have the type of program that everybody else here at RVC has….excellence, expecting excellence.”
“It was very up in the air like we don’t know how this season is going to go but hope for the best and the best came,” says Hecox.
The Golden Eagles won the N4C conference championship and then the Region IV Championship to advance to Nationals. They’re one of 12 teams that will compete there. They’re the fifth seed.
“I was hoping we could squeeze a four just to stay out of the one-seed side of the bracket but we got a fifth and I think that’s pretty close to where we’re at,” says Pierce.
RVC’s first match at nationals will be Thursday afternoon against Harrisburg Area College of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.