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Area grads help Owens to NJCAA national championship

By Norwalk Reflector staff • Nov 15, 2018 at 9:00 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Three area graduates played pivotal roles to help Owens Community College win the NJCAA Division III volleyball championship on Saturday in Rochester, Minn.

Owens won the National Junior College Athletic Association title in a five-set thriller, turning back defending champion Eastfield (Texas) College, 25-20, 25-17, 20-25, 19-25, 15-13.

Kennedy Ames, a sophomore outside hitter from Edison, had 26 kills in the tournament. Summer Sweeting, a sophomore setter and a South Central graduate, had 29 assists in the championship match and 70 in the tournament.

Tournament MVP Michaela Eisenhauer, a sophomore middle blocker from Margaretta High School, finished with 19 kills and 21 digs in the championship match. It marked the first time this season that the Express had played a five-set match.

Ames and Sweeting joined Eisenhauer on the all-tournament team. Eisenhauer recorded 41 kills in the tourney.

Monroeville graduate Kara Schafer, a freshman setter, served the match’s final point, a kill by Carlie Bengela. Schafer’s ace clinched the first set for the Express.

In 46 matches, Ames finished with 290 kills and 346 digs. Sweeting finished with 991 assists and 187 digs, and Schafer had 581 assists and 107 digs.

Owens, the tourney’s No. 1 seed, swept Queensborough (N.Y.) and Rochester (Minn.) in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds.

The Express finished the season with a 40-6 record and a 15-match winning streak while winning the Toledo school’s first NJCAA volleyball championship. Owens was national runner-up last year in the NJCAA Div. II tournament.

Coach Sonny Lewis was named Coach of the Year for Div. III. Lewis, who is in his 18th year at Owens as head coach, has a 665-196 record with the Express.

It was the school’s first national title since the Owens men’s basketball team won a national title in 1993.

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